Patients receiving hemodialysis are generally considered to be at increased risk of developing tuberculosis. In the current study, in order to evaluate the usefulness of serological tests in dialysis patients, serum antibodies for tuberculous glycolipids antigen (TBGL) and for lipoarabinomannan (LAM) were measured in hemodialysis patients. The present study included 243 hemodialysis patients. Serum antibodies for TBGL and LAM were measured. Tuberculin skin tests were carried out and chest X-rays evaluated at the same time. There were no patients with active tuberculosis at the time of blood sampling. Thirty-six patients (14.8%) and 25 patients (10.3%) were positive for anti-TBGL antibody and anti-LAM antibody, respectively. One hundred and fifty-five patients (63.8%) were positive for tuberculin skin testing and 123 patients (50.6%) had old pulmonary tuberculosis on their chest X-ray. There was no significant correlation between the results of anti-TBGL antibody and anti-LAM antibody. There were no relationships among the results of tuberculin skin test and the two serological tests. However, positivity of anti-TBGL antibody and anti-LAM antibody was significantly higher in patients with findings of old tuberculosis on the chest X-ray than those without findings. The current results show that these serological tests are positive more frequently in hemodialysis patients without any proof of active tuberculosis than in healthy subjects (2%) and careful interpretation is necessary for relevant results.
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