Impact of undernutrition on tuberculosis treatment outcomes in India: A multicenter prospective cohort analysis by Dr. Pranay Sinha

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Clinical Infectious Diseases

Undernutrition is the leading risk factor for tuberculosis (TB) globally. Its impact on treatment outcomes is poorly defined.

We conducted a prospective cohort analysis of adults with drug-sensitive pulmonary TB at 5 sites from 2015–2019. Using multivariable Poisson regression, we assessed associations between unfavorable outcomes and nutritional status based on body mass index (BMI) nutritional status at treatment initiation, BMI prior to TB disease, stunting, and stagnant or declining BMI after 2 months of TB treatment. Unfavorable outcome was defined as a composite of treatment failure, death, or relapse within 6 months of treatment completion.

Severe undernutrition (BMI <16 kg/m2) at treatment initiation and severe undernutrition before the onset of TB disease were both associated with unfavorable outcomes (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR], 2.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.42–2.91 and aIRR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.16–3.94, respectively). Additionally, lack of BMI increase after treatment initiation was associated with increased unfavorable outcomes (aIRR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.27–2.61). Severe stunting (height-for-age z score <−3) was associated with unfavorable outcomes (aIRR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.00–2.24). Severe undernutrition at treatment initiation and lack of BMI increase during treatment were associated with a 4- and 5-fold higher rate of death, respectively.

Premorbid undernutrition, undernutrition at treatment initiation, lack of BMI increase after intensive therapy, and severe stunting are associated with unfavorable TB treatment outcomes. These data highlight the need to address this widely prevalent TB comorbidity. Nutritional assessment should be integrated into standard TB care.

Pranay Sinha, Chinnaiyan Ponnuraja, Nikhil Gupte, Senbagavalli Prakash Babu, Samyra R Cox, Sonali Sarkar, Vidya Mave, Mandar Paradkar, Chelsie Cintron, S Govindarajan, Aarti Kinikar, Nadesan Priya, Sanjay Gaikwad, Balamugesh Thangakunam, Arutselvi Devarajan, Mythili Dhanasekaran, Jeffrey A Tornheim, Amita Gupta, Padmini Salgame, Devashyam Jesudas Christopher, Hardy Kornfeld, Vijay Viswanathan, Jerrold J Ellner, C Robert Horsburgh, Jr, Akshay N Gupte, Chandrasekaran Padmapriyadarsini, Natasha S Hochberg, on behalf of the Regional Prospective Observational Research on Tuberculosis India Consortium, Impact of Undernutrition on Tuberculosis Treatment Outcomes in India: A Multicenter, Prospective, Cohort Analysis, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 76, Issue 8, 15 April 2023, Pages 1483–1491,