Study objectives: To investigate the characteristics of tuberculosis infection in diabetic patients at Bellevue Hospital.
Design: We conducted a case-control study retrospectively reviewing the records of patients at Bellevue Hospital Center from 1987 to 1997 with a discharge diagnosis of tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus.
Setting: Bellevue Hospital Center is a 1,200-bed, inner-city municipal hospital located in the Lower East Side of New York City.
Patients: Fifty-three identified patients had verified tuberculosis infection and diabetes; of these, 50 charts were available for review. One hundred five control cases were selected from nondiabetic patients with a discharge diagnosis of tuberculosis during the same time period.
Measurements and results: Thirty-six percent (18 cases) of the patients with diabetes and tuberculosis had multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) compared to only 10% (10 cases) in the control group (p < 0.01) Controlling for homelessness, HIV status, and directly observed therapy, the relative risk of MDR-TB was calculated to be 8.6 (confidence interval, 3.1 to 23.6) in the diabetic group compared to the control group.
Conclusions: There was a significant association between diabetes and MDR-TB. Diabetes continues to be a risk factor for tuberculosis and was associated with MDR-TB in our patients.