Delays in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in Coahuila, Mexico

J. Salinas, S. Calvillo, J. Caylà, F. B. Nedel, M. Martín, Albert Navarro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine diagnostic delay in pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases and analyse associated factors. METHODS: New PTB cases were studied in Coahuila, Northern Mexico, between 2008 and 2009. We obtained census data and data on residential address, symptoms and diagnosis from the national patient database; socio-demographic variables were obtained during home visits. Bivariate analyses used the Kaplan-Meier method; multivariate analysis consisted of modelling survival. RESULTS: We studied 458 subjects (median age 48 years), who were predominantly males (56.1%); the median years of schooling was 6.0 years, 83.4% were urban residents, 50.3% were unemployed, and 87.7% suffered from food poverty. The median delay between the onset of symptoms and the first medical consultation was 53.5 days. Lack of formal education (P = 0.050) and living ≥5 km from a health unit (P = 0.034) were associated with longer delays and consequently with severe symptoms (cough ≥2 weeks, P = 0.001; chest pain, P = 0.032; malnutrition, P = 0.003). Mean health system delay (between first consultation and smear test result) was 18.5 days, and was significantly longer when the first consultation was with a private physician (P < 0.001) and when patient age was ≥46 years (P = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In Coahuila, lack of formal education, living ≥5 km from a health unit, first consultation with a private physician, and being aged ≥46 years contributed to delays in PTB diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1193-1198
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • Delay
  • Diagnosis
  • Pulmonary TB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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