Nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease: the top ten essentials

Respir Med. 2014 Mar;108(3):417-25. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.09.014. Epub 2013 Sep 25.


This review will utilize essential questions about nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease to succinctly address important new developments in the pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of NTM lung disease with a focus on practical information and "bottom line" answers. 1) What do I tell my patients who ask, “where did I get this infection” and, “should I take showers”? 2) What is the connection between bronchiectasis and the acquisition of NTM lung infection? 3) What other factors are important in the pathogenesis of NTM lung disease? 4) Why does it seem that am I seeing more new NTM lung disease patients? 5) Why is the diagnosis of NTM lung disease so complicated and does the diagnosis of NTM lung infection obligate specific treatment? 6) Unlike traditional tuberculosis, what is behind the irrelevance of most in vitro susceptibility testing reports for NTM infections? 7) Is there anything new for the management of patients with Mycobacterium avium complex lung disease? How does the radiographic appearance influence treatment? 8) Is there anything new for the management of patients with Mycobacterium abscessus lung disease? 9) What about the management of other NTM respiratory pathogens? 10) Is there a role for the use of macrolide monotherapy for non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis?

Keywords: Mycobacterium abscessus; Mycobacterium avium Complex (MAC); Nontuberculous mycobacteria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiectasis / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / complications
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases / therapy
  • Macrolides / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / complications
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / diagnosis*
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / therapy
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria / isolation & purification
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Sex Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • United States


  • Macrolides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha