Article Abstract

Nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary infections

Authors: Margaret M. Johnson, John A. Odell

Abstract

Pulmonary infections due to nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are increasingly recognized worldwide. Although over 150 different species of NTM have been described, pulmonary infections are most commonly due to Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), Mycobacterium kansasii, and Mycobacterium abscessus. The identification of these organisms in pulmonary specimens does not always equate with active infection; supportive radiographic and clinical findings are needed to establish the diagnosis. It is difficult to eradicate NTM infections. A prolonged course of therapy with a combination of drugs is required. Unfortunately, recurrent infection with new strains of mycobacteria or a relapse of infection caused by the original organism is not uncommon. Surgical resection is appropriate in selected cases of localized disease or in cases in which the infecting organism is resistant to medical therapy. Additionally, surgery may be required for infections complicated by hemoptysis or abscess formation. This review will summarize the practical aspects of the diagnosis and management of NTM thoracic infections, with emphasis on the indications for surgery and the results of surgical intervention. The management of NTM disease in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections is beyond the scope of this article and, unless otherwise noted, comments apply to hosts without HIV infection.