Pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection

Last revised by Yuranga Weerakkody on 29 Jan 2024

Pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infection refers to pulmonary infection caused by one of the large number (at least 150) mycobacterial species other than Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, certain species are much more common than others.

There may be an association between achalasia of the gastric cardia and Mycobacterium fortuitum/chelonae infection.

Some patients are relatively asymptomatic. However, most have a combination of respiratory and systemic features that may resemble pulmonary tuberculosis:

As with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) commonly cause pulmonary infections. More than 150 species of NTM species have been identified, some of which can cause infections in humans. These include:

Detailed guidelines on the management approach are available 12. The general principles are:

  • multidrug therapy according to the sensitivities of the organisms

  • treatment for at least 12 months

  • specialist follow-up to monitor compliance and drug side-effects

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: pulmonary MAC infection
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  • Case 2: Mycobacterium xenopi
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