RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Chest radiographic findings in patients with tuberculosis with recent or remote infection.

To determine if chest radiographic findings differ in adult tuberculosis patients with recent and remote infection, we reviewed the chest radiographs of 103 patients with tuberculosis in Los Angeles and performed RFLP analyses of their Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. Patients whose isolates had identical or closely related RFLP patterns were considered a "cluster." Most patients in large clusters (more than seven patients) had tuberculosis from recent infection, whereas most unclustered patients had tuberculosis from remote infection. Mediastinal adenopathy or pleural effusions were classified as typical of recent infection, and upper lobe infiltrates, cavitation, or fibrosis were classified as characteristic of remote infection. Radiographic patterns were typical of remote infection in 62% of patients and were characteristic of recent infection in 23% of patients. The distribution of these radiographic patterns was similar in clustered and unclustered patients, both with or without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection. However, mediastinal adenopathy and pleural effusions were significantly more common in HIV-infected patients. We conclude that: (1) chest radiographic findings in adults with tuberculosis of recent infection are similar to those in patients with remote infection; (2) the distinctive chest radiographic findings in HIV-infected patients with tuberculosis are not due to an increased frequency of recent infection.

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