BACKGROUND: Persistent respiratory symptoms and lung function deficits are common after patients with TB . We aimed to define the burden of post-TB lung disease (PTLD) and assess associations between symptoms and impairment in two high TB incidence communities.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional survey of adults in Cape Town, South Africa who completed TB treatment 1-5 years previously . Questionnaires, spirometry and 6-minute walking distance (6MWD) were used to assess relationships between outcome measures and associated factors.
RESULTS: Of the 145 participants recruited (mean age : 42 years, range : 18-75; 55 [38 %] women), 55 (38 %) had airflow obstruction and 84 (58 %) had low forced vital capacity (FVC); the mean 6MWD was 463 m (range : 240-723). Respiratory symptoms were common: chronic cough (n = 27 , 19 %), wheeze (n = 61 , 42 %) and dyspnoea (modified MRC dyspnoea score 3 or 4: n = 36 , 25 %). There was poor correlation between FVC or obstruction and 6MWD . Only low body mass index showed consistent association with outcomes on multivariable analyses . Only 19 (13 %) participants had a diagnosis of respiratory disease, and 16 (11 %) currently received inhalers.
CONCLUSION: There was substantial burden of symptoms and physiological impairment in this``cured"population, but poor correlation between objective outcome measures, highlighting deficits in our understanding of PTLD.