Validity of cough symptoms for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis in inpatients at a university hospital

Berenice das Dores Gonçalves Luciana Tricai Cavalini Cristóvão Clemente Rodrigues Sonia Regina Lambert Passos Mariana Couto Monteiro Leonardo Crispino Buchman Jesiree Iglesias Quadros Bruna Caputo About the authors


to evaluate the accuracy of cough symptoms in diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) among inpatients at a university hospital.


an evaluation study was conducted on diagnostic tests performed on inpatients aged >15 at a general hospital in Niterói-RJ, Brazil, 2011-2012.


3,677 patients were included. Of these 608 had coughs and 15 were diagnosed with PTB; 10 out of 184 patients with symptomatic respiratory distress were diagnosed with PTB; accuracy of cough symptoms for identifying patients with TB was 83.4%; absence of coughing proved to be a good indicator for discarding diagnosis (negative predictive value 99.7%), but positive predictive value was low (0.99).


productive cough showed good accuracy, although on its own it is not a good symptom for PTB screening in hospital settings; other symptoms and signs need to be identified for screening and early diagnosis in hospitals to ensure effective tuberculosis case management.

Tuberculosis, Pulmonary; Inpatients; Clinical Diagnosis; Cough; Evaluation Studies

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