Background and objective: The link between tuberculosis (TB) and dialysis is known; however, the impact of TB on the clinical outcomes remains to be elucidated. This study aims to determine the clinical consequences of pulmonary TB among patients under long-term dialysis. Methods: A retrospective propensity-scores matched (1:4) cohort study was conducted by retrieving patient data for pulmonary TB after long-term dialysis commencement from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database between 1999 and 2013. Patients with TB (n=1993) or without TB (n=7972) were compared for 3-year morbidity and mortality. The effect of Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course (DOTS) implementation was also evaluated. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine adjusted hazard ratios (HRs). Results: TB patients had a significantly higher risk of mortality than non-TB patients even after multivariate adjustment (HR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.36-1.60; P<0.001). DOTS implementation reduced the risk of some morbidities such as pneumonia, hospitalization and intensive care unit stay >7days, but not inotropic agent usage, ventilator therapy >21days and mortality in TB patients. In pulmonary TB patients with treatment duration ≥180days, DOTS implementation also lowered the risk of TB relapse (HR: 0.33; 95% CI: 0.19-0.55; P<0.001), irrespective of treatment duration (180-224 or ≥225days). Conclusion: Pulmonary TB increases the risk of morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients; DOTS implementation reduces some morbidities and TB relapse. Continuing DOTS implementation should be encouraged to improve clinical outcomes in dialysis patients.
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