Prevalence of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis along the continuum of pulmonary tuberculosis care: A protocol for a living systematic review and meta-analysis

Article Authors: Felix Bongomin, Ronald Olum, Winnie Kibone, Martha Namusobya, Norman van Rhijn, David W Denning


Introduction: Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA) is a debilitating disease estimated to affect over 3 million people worldwide. Pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) is the most significant risk factor for CPA. However, the true burden of CPA at the time of PTB diagnosis, during, and after PTB treatment remains unknown. In this paper, we present a protocol for a living systematic review aimed at estimating the current burden of CPA along the continuum of PTB care.

Materials and methods: We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols (PRISMA-P) guidelines to formulate this protocol, which is registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO: CRD42023453900). We will identify primary literature through various electronic databases, including CINAHL, Ovid MEDLINE, MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, Google Scholar, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and African Journal Online. The search will encompass articles from inception to December 31st, 2023, using medical subject heading search terms “pulmonary tuberculosis” AND “chronic pulmonary aspergillosis”. Two reviewers will independently assess titles, abstracts, and full texts for eligibility using the Covidence web-based software. The eligible studies will comprise original observational research that reports on the prevalence of CPA diagnosed in individuals with PTB, based on established criteria, without language or geographic restriction. We intend to exclude single case reports and case series with fewer than 10 participants, as well as review articles, guidelines, and letters to the editors. Cochrane Risk of Bias Tools (ROB2 and ROBINS-I) will used to assess study quality and risk of bias and the quality of the evidence will be rated using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) tool. Our data syntheses will encompass meta-analysis and meta-regression, conducted using STATA version 18 and R- Studio version 4.0.2. This systematic review will be updated every 3-5 years as more data emerges.

Conclusions: The findings of this proposed systematic review will summarize the available evidence on the occurrence of CPA, at the time of PTB diagnosis, during and after PTB treatment. The study results have the potential to guide healthcare policies regarding screening for CPA, enhance clinical decision-making, and catalyse further research into understanding the interplay between PTB and CPA. By shedding light on the current burden of CPA along the continuum of PTB care, we aspire to contribute to the betterment of patient care, disease management, and global health outcomes.

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