Interventions to prevent post-tuberculosis sequelae: a systematic review and meta-analysis

EClinicalMedicine. 2024 Feb 26:70:102511. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2024.102511. eCollection 2024 Apr.


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a global public health challenge, causing substantial mortality and morbidity. While TB treatment has made significant progress, it often leaves survivors with post-TB sequelae, resulting in long-term health issues. Current healthcare systems and guidelines lack comprehensive strategies to address post-TB sequelae, primarily due to insufficient evidence. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to identify effective interventions for preventing post-TB sequelae.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted across four databases including PubMed, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from inception to September 22, 2023. Eligible studies reported interventions designed to prevent post-TB sequelae were included. A random effect meta-analysis was conducted where applicable, and heterogeneity between studies was evaluated visually using forest plots and quantitatively using an index of heterogeneity (I2). This study is registered with PROSPERO (CRD42023464392).

Findings: From the 2525 unique records screened, 25 studies involving 10,592 participants were included. Different interventions were evaluated for different outcomes. However, only a few interventions were effective in preventing post-TB sequelae. Rehabilitation programs significantly improved lung function (Hedges's g = 0.21; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.03, 0.39) and prevented neurological sequelae (relative risk (RR) = 0.10; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.42). Comprehensive interventions and cognitive-behavioural therapy significantly reduced the risk of mental health disorders among TB survivors (Hedges's g = -1.89; 95% CI: -3.77, -0.01). In contrast, interventions targeting post-TB liver sequelae, such as vitamin A and vitamin D supplementation and hepatoprotective agents, did not show significant reductions in sequelae (RR = 0.90; 95% CI: 0.52, 1.57). Moreover, adjunctive therapies did not show a significant effect in preventing post-TB neurological sequelae (RR = 0.62, 95% CI: 0.31, 1.24).

Interpretation: Rehabilitation programs prevented post-TB lung, neurologic and mental health sequelae, while adjuvant therapies and other interventions require further investigation.

Funding: Healy Medical Research Raine Foundation, Curtin School of Population Health and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.

Keywords: Intervention; Meta-analysis; Prevention; Sequelae; Systematic review; Tuberculosis.