Pulmonary function outcomes after tuberculosis treatment in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Yao Long Lew, Angelica Fiona Tan, Stephanie T. Yerkovich, Tsin Wen Yeo, Anne B. Chang, Christopher P. Lowbridge

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Background: Despite tuberculosis (TB) being a curable disease, current guidelines fail to account for the long-term outcomes of post-tuberculosis lung disease - a cause of global morbidity despite successful completion of effective treatment. Our systematic review aimed to synthesise the available evidence on the lung function outcomes of childhood pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Methods: PubMed, ISI Web of Science, Cochrane Library and ProQuest databases were searched for English-only studies without time restriction (latest search date 22 March 2023). Inclusion criteria were (1) patients who had TB with pulmonary involvement at age ≤18 years; (2) pulmonary function tests (PFTs) performed on patients after treatment completion; and (3) observational studies, including cohort and cross-sectional studies. We adhered to the recommendations of the Cochrane Collaboration and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Results: From 8040 records, 5 studies were included (involving n=567 children), with spirometry measures from 4 studies included in the meta-analyses. The effect sizes of childhood TB on forced expiratory volume in the first second and forced vital capacity z-scores were estimated to be -1.53 (95% CI -2.65, -0.41; p=0.007) and -1.93 (95% CI -3.35, -0.50; p=0.008), respectively. Discussion: The small number of included studies reflects this under-researched area, relative to the global burden of TB. Nevertheless, as childhood PTB impacts future lung function, PFTs (such as spirometry) should be considered a routine test when evaluating the long-term lung health of children beyond their completion of TB treatment. PROSPERO registration number CRD42021250172.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188 - 194
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2023


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