Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Sputum microscopy is the only diagnostic for tuberculosis (TB) available at peripheral levels of health service in resource-poor countries. Its sensitivity is reduced in high HIV-prevalence settings. Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) specimen sedimentation prior microscopy and light-emitting diode (LED)-fluorescence microscopy (FM) can individually improve performance of microscopy. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of combined LED-FM and NaOCl sputum sedimentation for TB detection at peripheral level of health services. METHODS: A prospective study was conducted in an urban health clinic in Nairobi, Kenya. Three sputum specimens were collected over 2 days from consecutive TB suspects. Smears were prepared and stained with auramine O and Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) methods. Bleach (3.5%) was added to the remaining specimen before overnight sedimentation at room temperature. Auramine O staining was performed on smears of sediment. A 4(th) specimen was collected for TB culture. Auramine smears were read under the same microscope as used for ZN smears, but equipped with the LED FluoLED™ fluorescence illuminator. RESULTS: 497 patients were included, and 1394 specimens collected. The yield of positive specimen was significantly increased after NaOCl sedimentation (24.9%) compared to direct LED-FM (20.6%) and direct ZN (20.3%). In detecting smear-positive patients, sensitivity was 78.5% for LED-FM after NaOCl sedimentation compared to 73.2% and 72.0% for direct LED-FM (P = 0.06) and direct ZN (P = 0.06), respectively. Specificity was 87.8% for LED-FM after NaOCl sedimentation compared to 96.7% and 95.9% for direct LED-FM (P<0.01) and direct ZN (P<0.01), respectively. Inter-reading agreement (kappa = 0.7) and technicians' acceptability were good. CONCLUSION: NaOCl sedimentation did not improve the performance of LED-FM in the diagnosis of pulmonary TB at peripheral health service level.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Female, Humans, Male, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Sodium Hypochlorite, Specimen Handling, Tuberculosis, Young Adult