Setting: Chest Clinic, Sant Pau Hospital, Barcelona, Spain.
Objective: To assess the therapeutic response of pulmonary disease due to Mycobacterium kansasii to 12 and 18 months of chemotherapy.
Design: 28 patients with criteria of pulmonary disease caused by M. kansasii not associated with HIV-infection were identified in our department in the period 1985-91 (24 male, 4 female, mean age 56 +/- 12 years). 14 patients were treated with rifampicin-isoniazid-ethambutol daily for 12 months (ethambutol only for the first 6 months), and 14 with the same regimen for 18 months. The follow-up after treatment was 12-30 months.
Results: All patients showed improvement of radiographic manifestation of disease and sputum conversion (mean time: 4.5 +/- 2 months). The adverse drug effects were minimal. No failures were detected, and only one patient (3.5%), in the group of 12-month chemotherapy, relapsed after finishing the treatment.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that pulmonary disease due to M. kansasii has an effective response to 12-month chemotherapy regimen and that it is not necessary to prolong the administration of ethambutol for more than 6 months.