RATIONALE: More information on risk factors for death from tuberculosis in the United States could help reduce the tuberculosis mortality rate, which has remained steady for over a decade. Objective(s) To identify risk factors for tuberculosis-related death in adults.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective study of 1,304 adults with tuberculosis who died before treatment completion and 1,039 frequency-matched controls who completed tuberculosis treatment in 2005-2006 in thirteen states reporting 65% of U.S. tuberculosis cases. We used in-depth record abstractions and a standard algorithm to classify deaths in persons with tuberculosis as tuberculosis-related or not. We then compared these classifications to causes of death as coded in death certificates. We used multivariable logistic regression to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for predictors of tuberculosis-related death among adults compared with those who completed tuberculosis treatment.
RESULTS: Of 1,304 adult deaths, 942 (72%) were tuberculosis-related, 272 (21%) were not, and 90 (7%) couldn't be classified. Of 847 tuberculosis-related deaths with death certificates available, 378 (45%) did not list tuberculosis as a cause of death. Adjusting for known risks, we identified new risks for tuberculosis-related death during treatment: absence of pyrazinamide in the initial regimen (aOR=3.4, 95% CI=1.9-6.0); immunosuppressive medications (aOR=2.5, 95% CI=1.1-5.6); incomplete TB diagnostic evaluation (aOR=2.2, 95% CI=1.5-3.3), and an alternative non-TB diagnosis prior to TB diagnosis (aOR=1.6, 95% CI=1.2-2.2). Conclusions Most persons who died with tuberculosis had a tuberculosis-related death. Intensive record review revealed tuberculosis as a cause of death more often than did death certificate diagnoses. New tools, such as a TB mortality risk score based on our study findings, may identify TB patients for in-hospital interventions to prevent death.