The role of routine culture for tuberculosis during bronchoscopy examination of lung masses

David Shitrit*, Shlomi Dekel, Ariella Bar Gil Shitrit, Mordechai R. Kramer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many centers routinely culture bronchoscopy samples for mycobacteria even when tuberculosis (TB) is not strongly suspected. The value of this practice has hardly been investigated. Objective: The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the utility of routine culture of bronchoscopy samples of lung masses for mycobacteria in a region where TB is not endemic. Patients and Methods: The study group consisted of 168 patients who underwent bronchoscopy for investigation of lung masses in a major tertiary-care, university-affiliated facility in central Israel. The findings on acid-fast bacillus staining and culture were reviewed, and data on demographic characteristics were collected from the files. Results: There were 97 men (58%) and 71 women with a mean age of 62 ± 25 years. One culture (0.6%) grew Mycobacterium tuberculosis. There were no cases of positive acid-fast bacillus smear or positive nontuberculous mycobacteria culture. Sixty USD (5.45%) would be saved per patient without clinical suspicion of TB. Conclusions: These findings highlight the need to formulate new guidelines for the performance of mycobacterial cultures of bronchoscopy specimens in areas with a low prevalence of TB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-405
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid-fast bacilli
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Tuberculosis


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