Background: Despite chemotherapy, patients with cured pulmonary tuberculosis may result in lung functional impairment.
Objective: To evaluate a novel scoring system based on the degree of radiographic abnormalities and related spirometric values in patients with cured pulmonary tuberculosis.
Methods: One hundred and twenty seven patients with cured pulmonary tuberculosis were prospectively enrolled in a referral hospital specializing in respiratory diseases. Spirometry was performed and the extent of radiographic abnormalities was evaluated twice by each of two readers to generate a novel quantitative score. Scoring reproducibility was analyzed by the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) and the Bland-Altman method. Multiple linear regression models were performed to assess the association of the extent of radiographic abnormalities with spirometric values.
Results: The intra-observer agreement for scoring of radiographic abnormalities (SRA) showed an ICC of 0.81 (CI:95%, 0.67-0.95) and 0.78 (CI:95%, 0.65-0.92), for reader 1 and 2, respectively. Inter-observer reproducibility for the first measurement was 0.83 (CI:95%, 0.71-0.95), and for the second measurement was 0.74 (CI:95%, 0.58-0.90). The Bland-Altman analysis of the intra-observer agreement showed a mean bias of 0.87% and -0.55% and an inter-observer agreement of -0.35% and -1.78%, indicating a minor average systematic variability. After adjustment for age, gender, height, smoking status, pack-years of smoking, and degree of dyspnea, the scoring degree of radiographic abnormalities was significantly and negatively associated with absolute and percent predicted values of FVC: -0.07 (CI:95%, -0.01 to -0.04); -2.48 (CI:95%, -3.45 to -1.50); and FEV1 -0.07 (CI:95%, -0.10 to -0.05); -2.92 (CI:95%, -3.87 to -1.97) respectively, in the patients studied.
Conclusion: The extent of radiographic abnormalities, as evaluated through our novel scoring system, was inversely associated with spirometric values, and exhibited good reliability and reproducibility. As intra-observer and inter-observer agreement of the SRA varied from good to excellent, the use of SRA in this setting appears acceptable.