Korean J Med.  2013 Feb;84(2):221-228.

Symptoms and Factors Associated with Delayed Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea. jspark@dankook.ac.kr


Delayed diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) can result in progressive disease and contribute to the spread of TB. Presenting symptoms and factors associated with delayed diagnosis of pulmonary TB were evaluated in a tertiary university hospital in South Korea.
Patients with pulmonary TB diagnosed from July 2011 to July 2012 were interviewed with questionnaires regarding symptoms of pulmonary TB and the type of health care facilities first visited. Medical records were also reviewed to evaluate the extent of diagnostic delay and factors associated with delayed diagnosis.
Of 107 patients with pulmonary TB, 85 (79.4%) were diagnosed after visiting doctors for evaluation of pulmonary TB symptoms and 22 (20.6%) were diagnosed after medical check-ups. Among patients diagnosed with pulmonary TB symptoms, the mean patient delay (time from symptom onset to initial doctor visit) was 16.7 +/- 15.1 days, and the mean doctor delay (time from initial doctor visit to diagnosis of pulmonary TB) was 22.2 +/- 21.3 days. First visit to a drugstore was associated with longer patient delays (hazard ratio [HR], 2.533; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.424-4.506). First visit to a primary clinic was associated with longer doctor delays compared with first visit to a public health center or secondary/tertiary hospital (HR, 1.767; 95% CI, 1.003-3.114). The presence of hemoptysis was associated with shorter doctor delays (HR, 0.438; 95% CI, 0.203-0.944).
To reduce delays in diagnosis of pulmonary TB, patients should be educated to quickly consult with a doctor when they have symptoms of pulmonary TB, and primary clinic doctors should be educated to maintain a high index of suspicion for pulmonary TB.


Tuberculosis; Pulmonary; Diagnosis; Delayed

MeSH Terms

Delayed Diagnosis
Delivery of Health Care
Medical Records
Public Health
Surveys and Questionnaires
Tuberculosis, Pulmonary
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