To study the trend of hospital stays for patients diagnosed with pulmonary TB in Montreal from 1993 to 2007.
From the registry of hospital discharge summary information, we selected first hospitalizations for patients with a diagnosis of TB, and from the reportable diseases registry, patients with culture positive pulmonary TB. We linked the selected cases, using the first 3 characters of postal code of residence, sex and age. From the linked cases, we included those for whom date of patient's admission to hospital (from the former registry) was similar to the date of notification to the public health department (from the latter registry), while allowing for an appropriate variation.
Among the 563 linked cases, the median duration of hospitalization was 17.0 days. Duration of hospitalization did not significantly decrease during the study period. Cases with positive sputum smear were more likely to stay in hospital > or = 14 days compared to those without one (OR = 1.90, 95% CI: 1.34-2.70). TB cases > or = 50 years of age remained in hospital longer than those between 18-49 years of age (OR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.15-2.40).
For 63.9% (360) of the cases studied, the duration of hospitalization was > or = 14 days, which is consistent with the minimum recommended hospital stay for patients with pulmonary TB in Canada. Further studies are necessary to examine the impact of discharging hospitalized TB patients before 14 days of hospital stay on the risk of TB transmission in the community.