Tuberculosis, the largest single cause of death of any infectious disease worldwide, has undergone a startling resurgence in the United States, partially related to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic.
To compare the clinical, roentgenographic, and bacteriologic characteristics of patients with AIDS and the general population, we retrospectively analyzed the clinical records of all patients with tuberculosis in an inner-city population over a 4-year period. Forty-six patients with AIDS (including 38 injecting drug users [83%]) were identified and matched with a control group of 46 patients with tuberculosis who did not have AIDS.
Forty-one patients with AIDS (89%) had pulmonary tuberculosis; 10 (22%) had disseminated disease and 13 (28%) had concurrent extrapulmonary disease. Among the patients without AIDS, two (4%) had disseminated disease and four (9%) had extrapulmonary disease. Patients with AIDS were far more likely to be black. Thirty-seven patients with AIDS (80%) had negative purified protein derivative skin test results compared with eight controls (17%). Seventeen (41%) of 41 patients with AIDS presented with classic post—primary upper-lobe disease compared with 32 (73%) of 44 patients in the control group. Primary tuberculosis features occurred predominately in the AIDS group. Four (10%) of 41 patients with AIDS presented with clear chest films despite positive smears and cultures. Nine patients with AIDS (20%) were drug-resistant compared with three controls (7%). Seven patients with AIDS with drug resistance were born in the United States (78%), while all controls with drug resistance were foreign-born.
We found vast differences in the clinical, roentgenographic, and drug susceptibility characteristics of patients with tuberculosis who did and did not have AIDS.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:640-645)