We conducted a multicenter study to determine whether Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) cultures in automated broth-based systems could reliably be considered negative sooner than 6 weeks. Laboratory sites used Bactec MGIT or BacT/ Alert and tracked results of time to detection of all mycobacteria (TTD-all, n = 1547) and of MTBC (TTD-MTBC, n = 466) over 6-month periods from primarily (93%) respiratory specimens. Cumulative percentages by day detected and median TTD of initial and follow-up specimens were analyzed. The median TTD-MTBC for MGIT (n = 6 sites) was 14 days. For laboratories using standard processing procedures, 100% of MTBC were detected from initial and follow-up specimens in 28 and 35 days, respectively, and no yield of MTBC on solid or MGIT liquid media was observed after 5 weeks. The median TTD-MTBC for BacT/Alert (n = 3 sites) was 18 days, with 95% and 100% detected within 37 and 42 days, respectively. Analysis of TTD of positive MTBC cultures in broth can predict the probability of culture negativity at defined time points. Receipt of interim negative reports earlier than 6 weeks could assist clinicians in considering alternative diagnoses and could alter the timing and prioritization of public health interventions. Laboratories should analyze their own TTD data to inform protocol decisions. Laboratories using MGIT could issue reports of no growth of MTBC on initial specimens as early as 4 weeks and for patients undergoing treatment as early as 5 weeks postinoculation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)