What are the British Thoracic Society Guidelines on the diagnosis of mycobacterium chelonae infection?

Updated: Dec 20, 2018
  • Author: Alfred Scott Lea, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Sputum, induced sputum, bronchial washings, bronchoalveolar lavage, or transbronchial biopsy samples can be used to evaluate individuals suspected of having nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) pulmonary disease.

Whenever possible, less invasive sampling should be attempted first to minimize procedural risks.

Respiratory samples should be processed within 24 hours of collection (or refrigerated at 4°C if delays are anticipated).

Oropharyngeal swab culture or serology testing should not be used to diagnose NTM pulmonary infection.

If sputum cultures are negative but clinical suspicion of NTM infection is high, consider performing CT-directed bronchial washings to obtain targeted samples.

If individuals undergoing diagnostic evaluation for NTM infection are taking antibiotics that may impair NTM growth (eg, aminoglycosides, macrolides, tetracyclines, cotrimoxazole, linezolid), consider discontinuing these antibiotics 2 weeks before collecting samples.

A validated rapid method should be used to detect NTM in respiratory samples.

All respiratory samples should be stained using auramine-phenol after liquefaction and concentration and then examined by microscopy.

Respiratory tract samples should be cultured (following decontamination) on solid and liquid media in a ISO15189-accredited clinical laboratory for 8 weeks, extending to 12 weeks if necessary.

Routine use of non–culture-based detection methods is not recommended at the present time.

All NTM isolates from respiratory samples should be identified to at least species level using validated molecular or mass spectrometry techniques.

Isolates of M abscessus should be subspeciated using appropriate molecular techniques.

If person-to-person transmission of M abscessus is suspected, isolates should be typed, preferably using whole genome sequencing.

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