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July 1989

The Nonutility of Chest Roentgenographic Examination in Asymptomatic Patients With Positive Tuberculin Test Results

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY (Drs Gottridge, Meyer, Schwartz, and Lesser); Departments of Medicine (Drs Gottridge, Meyer, Schwartz, and Lesser) and Pharmacology (Dr Meyer), Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(7):1660-1662. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390070164028

• To determine the value of chest roentgenograms in the management of asymptomatic persons with positive tuberculin skin test results, we undertook a retrospective review of all tests administered by our Employee Health Service, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY, between July 1, 1983 and November 1, 1987. Of 5200 tests, 247 results were positive. Two hundred twenty-one of these charts were reviewed for roentgenographic results and the presence of symptoms. All persons were asymptomatic. Chest roentgenograms revealed the following: normal, 188; unrelated abnormalities, 24; apical pleural thickening, 5; granulomas, 2; calcified hilar node, 1; and calcified node plus granuloma, 1. We noted no active tuberculosis, nor did the chest roentgenographic results influence recommendations for isoniazid prophylaxis. We conclude that chest roentgenograms are of value in 0% to 1.3% of asymptomatic people with positive tuberculin test results. A larger study should be undertaken to further define the usefulness of chest roentgenograms in this population.

(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:1660-1662)

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