Review Article

The medical and surgical treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis

Gregory L. Calligaro, Loven Moodley, Greg Symons, Keertan Dheda


Multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) are burgeoning global problems with high mortality which threaten to destabilise TB control programs in several parts of the world. Of alarming concern is the emergence, in large numbers, of patients with resistance beyond XDR-TB (totally drug-resistant TB; TDR-TB or extremely drug resistant TB; XXDR-TB). Given the burgeoning global phenomenon of MDR-TB, XDR-TB and TDR-TB, and increasing international migration and travel, healthcare workers, researchers, and policy makers in TB endemic and non-endemic countries should familiarise themselves with issues relevant to the management of these patients. Given the lack of novel TB drugs and limited access to existing drugs such as linezolid and bedaquiline in TB endemic countries, significant numbers of therapeutic failures are emerging from the ranks of those with XDR-TB. Given the lack of appropriate facilities in resource-limited settings, such patients are being discharged back into the community where there is likely ongoing disease spread. In the absence of effective drug regimens, in appropriate patients, surgery is a critical part of management. Here we review the diagnosis, medical and surgical management of MDR-TB and XDR-TB.

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