Health Questions and Answers

Question: What can be done for TB Symptomatics who are unable to spontaneously expectorate sputum?

Answer:

  • Sputum induction with nebulization of a hypertonic (3%) saline solution is recommended for patients who are unable to spontaneously bring up sputum
  • Three specimens will increase diagnostic yield of the sputum microscopy test of induced specimens
  • The use of nebulization with hypertonic solution is an alternative that must be maximized in order to avoid further invasive procedures
  • Clinics and laboratories must be equipped and designed to perform sputum induction according to specifications of infection control.

Reference: Bell, D. Leckie, V. McKendrick, M. The role of induced sputum in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis J Infection 2003; 47:317-321 

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