High rates of death and loss to follow-up by 12 months of rifampicin resistant TB treatment in South Africa
Introduction: Treatment success rates of rifampicin resistant (RR)/multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa range from 43–48%, falling short of the World Health Organization’s target of ≥75%. We present rates and assess predictors of attrition by 12 months on treatment.
Methods: Prospective observational cohort analysis of adults (≥18 years) initiating RR/MDR-TB treatment from 01 March 2013 to 30 September 2016. Attrition was defined as a combination of death and loss to follow-up (LTFU; treatment interruption ≥2 months) by 12 months on treatment. Predictors of attrition were identified using Cox Proportional Hazards models to estimate crude (HR) and adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals.
Results: By 12 months on treatment, 75/240 (31.3%) patients had either died (37/240; 15.4%) or been LTFU (38/240; 15.8%). Patients with moderate/severe anaemia (aHR: 2.10; 95% CI 1.00–4.39), and those who were smear positive at baseline (aHR: 2.04; 95% CI 1.01–4.12) were significantly more likely to die or be lost from care.
Conclusion: At this outpatient DR-TB treatment site, there was a high rate of attrition halfway through the standard treatment course at 12 months of 31%. High rates of attrition by 12 months on treatment may continue during the second-half of therapy.