The cost-effectiveness of the ProbeTec ET Direct TB assay (DTB) was compared with that of culture for detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in 361 acid-fast stain-positive respiratory specimens. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of DTB were 97.7%, 86.6%, 87.2% and 97.6%, respectively. When clinical evaluation was added to DTB, the specificity and positive predictive value of DTB increased to 94.7% and 95.4%, respectively. Treatment costs of $133521 would have been saved in this cohort if DTB, instead of culture results, had been used to eliminate 'false-positive' smear results.
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