Background: Both pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA) significantly affect health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). We aimed to determine the impact of CPA co-infection on the HR-QoL of Ugandans with PTB.
Methods: We conducted a prospective study as part of a larger study among participants with PTB with persistent pulmonary symptoms after 2 months of anti-TB treatment at Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda between July 2020 and June 2021. HR-QoL was assessed using St. George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) at enrollment and at the end of PTB treatment (4 months apart). SGRQ scores range from 0 to 100, with higher score representing a poorer HR-QoL.
Results: Of the 162 participants enrolled in the larger study, 32 (19.8%) had PTB + CPA and 130 (80.2%) had PTB. The baseline characteristics of the two groups were comparable. Regarding overall health, a higher proportion of the PTB group rated their HR-QoL as “very good” compared to those who had PTB + CPA (68 [54.0%] versus 8 [25.8%]). At enrollment, both groups had comparable median SGRQ scores. However, at follow up, the PTB group had statistically significantly better SGRQ scores (interquartile range); symptoms (0 [0–12.4] versus 14.4 [0–42.9], p < 0.001), activity ((0 [0–17.1] versus 12.2 [0–35.5], p = .03), impact (0 [0–4.0] versus 3.1 [0–22.5], p = 0.004), and total scores ((0 [0–8.5] versus 7.6[(0–27.4], p = 0.005).
Conclusion: CPA co-infection impairs HR-QoL of people with PTB. Active screening and management of CPA in patients with PTB is recommended to improve HR-QoL of these individuals.