Diagnostic criteria of nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease in HIV-seropositive and -seronegative hosts. The following criteria apply to symptomatic patients with infiltrate, nodular or cavitary disease, or a high resolution computed tomography scan that shows multifocal bronchiectasis and/or multiple small nodules. A. If three sputum/bronchial wash results are available from the previous 12 mo: 1. three positive cultures with negative AFB smear results or 2. two positive cultures and one positive AFB smear B. If only one bronchial wash is available: 1. positive culture with a 2+, 3+, or 4+ AFB smear or 2+, 3+, or 4+ growth on solid media C. If sputum/bronchial wash evaluations are nondiagnostic or another disease cannot be excluded: 1. transbronchial or lung biopsy yielding a NTM or 2. biopsy showing mycobacterial histopathologic features (granulomatous inflammation and/or AFB) and one or more sputums or bronchial washings are positive for an NTM even in low numbers.
Comments: these criteria fit best with M. avium complex, M. abscessus, and M. kansasii. Too little is known of other NTM to be certain how applicable these criteria will be. At least three respiratory samples should be evaluated from each patient. Other reasonable causes for the disease should be excluded. Expert consultation should be sought when diagnostic difficulties are encountered.