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Comparative study between tuberculin skin test and serum albumin level in patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis

Abstract

Background

Tuberculosis is difficult to diagnose and is an important cause of death among adults in developing countries. There is an urgent need for low-cost diagnostic markers in resource-limited settings.

Aim

The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between the intensity of the tuberculin test and serum albumin level in patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis.

Patients and methods

Forty patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis before treatment were classified into two groups: group A and group B. Group A included 20 patients (17 men and three women; age 23–70 years) with serum albumin level below 3.5 g/dl. Group B included 20 patients (16 male and four female patients; age 15–68 years) with serum albumin level of 3.5 g/dl or more. Patients were subjected to full clinical evaluation. Comorbidities that may affect tuberculin reaction, such as HIV infection, alcoholism, chronic renal failure, and neoplasms, were excluded. Laboratory tests included complete blood count, evaluation of erythrocyte sedimentation rate, liver and kidney function tests, plain chest radiography, tuberculin skin test using the Mantoux technique, sputum test for acid fast bacilli by means of Ziehl–Neelsen staining for three consecutive days, and serum albumin level at the same time as the tuberculin test.

Results

There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups as regards serum albumin level. The mean tuberculin skin test diameter in group A was 7.5 ± 3.94 mm and in group B was 20.9 ± 5.51 mm, which revealed statistically significant difference between the two groups. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between the intensity of tuberculin skin reaction at 72 h and serum albumin levels in both groups.

Conclusion

Patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis and lower serum albumin levels have weaker skin responses to tuberculin test.

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Correspondence to Ahmad A. Mohammad MD.

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Mohammad, A.A., Mohammad, O.E. & Shoman, A.A. Comparative study between tuberculin skin test and serum albumin level in patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis. Egypt J Bronchol 9, 188–191 (2015). https://doi.org/10.4103/1687-8426.158086

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/1687-8426.158086

Keywords

  • active pulmonary tuberculosis
  • serum albumin levels
  • tuberculin skin test