Disseminated tuberculosis among hospitalised HIV patients in South Africa: a common condition that can be rapidly diagnosed using urine-based assays


Kerkhoff AD, Barr DA, Schutz C, Burton R, Nicol MP, Lawn SD, Meintjes G


HIV-associated disseminated TB (tuberculosis) has been under-recognised and poorly characterised. Blood culture is the gold-standard diagnostic test, but is expensive, slow, and may under-diagnose TB dissemination. In a cohort of hospitalised HIV patients, we aimed to report the prevalence of TB-blood-culture positivity, performance of rapid diagnostics as diagnostic surrogates, and better characterise the clinical phenotype of disseminated TB. HIV-inpatients were systematically investigated using sputum, urine and blood testing. Overall, 132/410 (32.2%) patients had confirmed TB; 41/132 (31.1%) had a positive TB blood culture, of these 9/41 (22.0%) died within 90-days. In contrast to sputum diagnostics, urine Xpert and urine-lipoarabinomannan (LAM) combined identified 88% of TB blood-culture-positive patients, including 9/9 who died within 90-days. For confirmed-TB patients, half the variation in major clinical variables was captured on two principle components (PCs). Urine Xpert, urine LAM and TB-blood-culture positive patients clustered similarly on these axes, distinctly from patients with localised disease. Total number of positive tests from urine Xpert, urine LAM and MTB-blood-culture correlated with PCs (p < 0.001 for both). PC1&PC2 independently predicted 90-day mortality (ORs 2.6, 95%CI = 1.3-6.4; and 2.4, 95%CI = 1.3-4.5, respectively). Rather than being a non-specific diagnosis, disseminated TB is a distinct, life-threatening condition, which can be diagnosed using rapid urine-based tests, and warrants specific interventional trials.


Sci Rep.