Julie Jarand, MD, FRCPC
Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB

Nontuberculous mycobacterial infections are a worldwide problem and are becoming increasingly prevalent in many countries. The role of the environment and the importance of risk factors in different hosts is under active investigation. Diagnostic criteria for NTM pulmonary disease have been outlined in international guidelines but making a diagnosis of NTM pulmonary disease can still be challenging. The decision around whether or not to start treatment in patients who meet diagnostic criteria is often complex. Treatment for NTM lung disease can be difficult as it requires multiple antibiotics (oral +/- intravenous) for a minimum for 12 months after culture conversion. This prolonged therapy is often associated with side effects and/or toxicity. Therefore, communication with the patient, other care providers and long-term follow-up is essential to try to achieve treatment and patient goals.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Review the epidemiology of NTM and identify risk factors associated with NTM pulmonary disease;
  • Recognize how to diagnose NTM pulmonary disease and which patients are candidates for treatment; and
  • Describe how to treat NTM pulmonary disease (in particular, Mycobacterium avium complex).

CanMEDS Roles Addressed: Collaborator, Medical Expert