Introduction: Tuberculosis (TB) studies have concentrated on clinical outcomes; few studies have examined the impact of TB on patients' quality of life (QOL).
Methods: A systematic review of published medical literature using specific MESH terms: [Tuberculosis] and 1-[Outcome], 2-[Outcome Assessment], 3-[Quality of Life], 4-[Mood Disorder], 5-[Cost and Cost Analysis], 6-[Religion], 7-[Perception], 8-[Social Support], 9-[Optimism], 10-[Stress], 11-[Signs and Symptoms], and 12-[Cost of Illness]. This yielded 1972 articles; 60 articles met inclusion criteria and were reviewed.
Results: TB somatic symptoms have been well studied, but there were no studies of effects on physical functioning or general health perceptions. Patients tend to be worried, frustrated, or disappointed by their diagnosis, but it is unknown how emotional health changes with treatment. Diagnosed patients are less likely to find work, and less able to work and care for their families. TB creates the greatest financial burden on the poor. In developing, countries, patients and their families are ostracized by society, and families sometimes ostracize patients; the extent of TB's social stigma in the developed countries is unknown.
Conclusion: There has been relatively little research on TB QOL and even less in developed countries. A better understanding may help improve treatment regimens, adherence to treatment, and functioning and well-being of people with TB.