Research by ICMR’s National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis sheds light on long-term implications for TB survivors
Patients who have successfully completed treatment for tuberculosis (TB) are at an elevated risk of all-cause mortality and reduced life expectancy, according to studies conducted by the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, part of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). These findings have raised concerns among healthcare professionals and underscore the need for continued support and monitoring of TB survivors to ensure their long-term health and well-being.
The National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP) in India has made significant strides in combating TB and aims to end the disease by 2025, ahead of the global Sustainable Development Goal target of 2030. While treatment outcomes have improved and mortality rates have declined, the recent studies conducted by the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis highlight the persistent challenges faced by TB survivors even after successful treatment.
The research followed up with 4,022 TB patients and 12,243 gender-matched and age-matched controls to assess their long-term survival. The results revealed that mortality rates among those who had been diagnosed and treated for TB were twice as high compared to those who had not been affected by the disease. Most deaths occurred within the first year after completing treatment.
Among various population subgroups, the studies found that males had a higher mortality rate than females. Additionally, individuals who had undergone treatment for pulmonary TB, the more common form of the disease, faced a higher risk of mortality compared to those diagnosed with extrapulmonary TB.
Patients face higher risk of all-cause mortality, emphasizing the need for post-treatment support and care
The findings underscore the need for ongoing support and interventions to address the post-TB health challenges faced by survivors. The National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis recommends strategies such as regular counseling, raising awareness about TB and its consequences, and focusing on individuals with smoking and alcohol habits to reduce TB-related mortality.
Furthermore, the institute recommends long-term follow-up for TB recurrence and interventions for co-morbid conditions to prevent premature mortality. The NTEP is urged to prioritize appropriate strategies and resources to support TB survivors and reduce the long-term impact of the disease on their quality of life.
The research findings emphasize the importance of comprehensive care and ongoing monitoring to address the respiratory morbidity and mortality associated with post-TB sequelae. By prioritizing strategies to reduce mortality post-TB treatment, the NTEP can make significant progress in improving the overall health and well-being of TB survivors in India.