Comparative performance of Thin Layer Agar and Lowenstein-Jensen culture for diagnosis of tuberculosis

T. Battaglioli, N. Rintiswati, A. Martin, K.R. Palupi, G. Bernaerts, B. Dwihardiani, R.A. Ahmad, F. Matthys, Y. Mahendradhata, P. Van der Stuyft

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Sputum smear microscopy for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) is cheap and simple but its sensitivity is low. Culture on Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) is more sensitive but it takes a long time to yield results. Thin-Layer Agar (TLA) culture was suggested as an equally sensitive and faster alternative. We evaluated the performance of TLA for diagnosing TB in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. People with suspected TB presenting from July 2010 to July 2011 to two chest clinics of the National TB Control Programme network of Jogjakarta were eligible for inclusion. A sputum sample was sent to the Gadjah Mada University microbiology laboratory for concentration, smearing, Ziehl-Neelsen staining and culture on LJ and TLA. Sensitivity of cultures was evaluated against a composite reference standard (any positive culture). Time to detection of Mycobacteria was recorded. Out of 1414 samples, 164 (12%) were smear positive, 99 (7%) were scanty and 1151 (81%) were negative. On TLA and LJ respectively, 168 (12%) and 149 (11%) samples were positive, 72 (5%) and 32 (2%) were contaminated (kappa = 0.64; 95% CI 0.59-0.69, p
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)E502-E508
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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