Rationale: Permanent lung function impairment after active tuberculosis infection is relatively common. It remains unclear which spirometric pattern is most prevalent after tuberculosis. Objectives: Our objective was to elucidate the impact of active tuberculosis survival on lung health in the Strong Heart Study (SHS), a population of American Indians historically highly impacted by tuberculosis. As arsenic exposure has also been related to lung function in the SHS, we also assessed the joint effect between arsenic exposure and past active tuberculosis. Methods: The SHS is an ongoing population-based, prospective study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in American Indian adults. This study uses tuberculosis data and spirometry data from the Visit 2 examination (1993-1995). Prior active tuberculosis was ascertained by a review of medical records. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and FEV1/FVC were measured by spirometry. An additional analysis was conducted to evaluate the potential association between active tuberculosis and arsenic exposure. Results: A history of active tuberculosis was associated with reduced percent predicted FVC and FEV1, an increased odds of airflow obstruction (odds ratio = 1.45, 95% confidence interval = 1.08-1.95), and spirometric restrictive pattern (odds ratio = 1.73, 95% confidence interval = 1.24-2.40). These associations persisted after adjustment for diabetes and other risk factors, including smoking. We also observed the presence of cough, phlegm, and exertional dyspnea after a history of active tuberculosis. In the additional analysis, increasing urinary arsenic concentrations were associated with decreasing lung function in those with a history of active tuberculosis, but a reduced odds of active tuberculosis was found with elevated arsenic. Conclusions: Our findings support existing knowledge that a history of active tuberculosis is a risk factor for long-term respiratory impairment. Arsenic exposure, although inversely associated with prior active tuberculosis, was associated with a further decrease in lung function among those with a prior active tuberculosis history. The possible interaction between arsenic and tuberculosis, as well as the reduced odds of tuberculosis associated with arsenic exposure, warrants further investigation, as many populations at risk of developing active tuberculosis are also exposed to arsenic-contaminated water.
- American Indian
- Strong Heart Study
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine