Estimating post-treatment recurrence after multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment among patients with and without HIV: the impact of assumptions about death and missing follow-up

March 12th, 2024



Quantification of recurrence risk following successful treatment is crucial to evaluating regimens for multidrug- or rifampicin-resistant (MDR/RR) tuberculosis (TB). However, such analyses are complicated when some patients die or become lost during post-treatment follow-up.


We analyzed data on 1991 patients who successfully completed a longer MDR/RR-TB regimen containing bedaquiline and/or delamanid between 2015 and 2018 in 16 countries. Using 5 approaches for handling post-treatment deaths, we estimated 6-month post-treatment TB recurrence risk overall and by HIV status. We used inverse-probability weighting to account for patients with missing follow-up and investigated the impact of potential bias from excluding these patients without applying inverse-probability weights.


The estimated TB recurrence risk was 7.4/1000 (95% credible interval: 3.3–12.8) when deaths were handled as non-recurrences and 7.6/1000 (3.3–13.0) when deaths were censored and inverse-probability weights were applied to account for the excluded deaths. The estimated risks of composite recurrence outcomes were 25.5 (15.3–38.1), 11.7 (6.4–18.2), and 8.6 (4.1–14.4) per 1000 for recurrence or (1) any death, (2) death with unknown or TB-related cause, or (3) TB-related death, respectively. Corresponding relative risks for HIV status varied in direction and magnitude. Exclusion of patients with missing follow-up without inverse-probability weighting had a small impact on estimates.


The estimated 6-month TB recurrence risk was low, and the association with HIV status was inconclusive due to few recurrence events. Estimation of post-treatment recurrence will be enhanced by explicit assumptions about deaths and appropriate adjustment for missing follow-up data.

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