Microbiological diagnosis of nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease

Clin Chest Med. 2015 Mar;36(1):43-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2014.11.005. Epub 2014 Dec 18.


Pulmonary disease is by far the most frequent disease caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). To diagnose NTM pulmonary disease (NTM-PD), patients should have symptoms and radiologic signs suggestive of NTM-PD, and cultures of multiple respiratory tract samples must grow the same NTM species. Thus, the microbiological laboratory has a central role in the diagnosis of NTM-PD. This review summarizes currently available data on techniques involved in the microbiological diagnosis of NTM-PD, and aims to provide a framework for optimal microbiological diagnosis.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Microbiology; Nontuberculous mycobacteria; Pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / microbiology
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / diagnosis*
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / microbiology
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Physical Examination