, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 357–363 | Cite as

Clinical features of infection caused by non-tuberculous mycobacteria: 7 years’ experience

  • Tatjana Adzic-VukicevicEmail author
  • Aleksandra Barac
  • Ana Blanka-Protic
  • Marija Laban-Lazovic
  • Bojana Lukovic
  • Vesna Skodric-Trifunovic
  • Salvatore Rubino
Original Paper



Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous organisms associated with various infections. The aim of the study was to determine the most relevant clinical characteristics of NTM during the 7-year period.


A retrospective study of NTM infections was conducted between January 2009 and December 2016. The American Thoracic Society/Infectious Disease Society of America criteria were used to define cases of pulmonary or an extrapulmonary site.


A total of 85 patients were included in the study. Pulmonary cases predominated 83/85 (98%), while extrapulmonary NTM were present in 2/95 (2%) patients. Overall, ten different NTM species were isolated. The most common organisms were slow-growing mycobacteria (SGM) presented in 70/85 (82.35%) patients. Isolated SGM strains were Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) in 25/85 (29.41%) patients, M. xenopi in 20/85 (23.53%) patients, M. kansasii in 15/85 (17.65%) patients and M. peregrinum and M. gordonae in 5/85 (5.88%) patients each. Isolated rapid-growing mycobacteria (RGM) strains were M. abscessus in 8/85 (9.41%) patients, M. fortuitum in 4/85 (4.71%) patients and M. chelonae in 3/85 (3.53%) patients. Almost all patients (98%; 83/85) had comorbidities. Among 75 (88.24%) patients who completed follow-up, 59 (69.41%), 10 (11.76%) and 6 (7%), were cured, experienced relapse and died, respectively.


In the present study, pulmonary NTM infections were more frequent compared to extrapulmonary disease forms. SGM were most common isolates with MAC pulmonary disease the most frequently found. Comorbidities have an important role in NTM occurrence. Further investigation should focus on an NTM drug susceptibility testing.


Non-tuberculous mycobacteria Extrapulmonary Pulmonary Slow growing Rapid growing 



The paper has been published with the non-financial support of the project of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Serbia (No III 45005).


The authors did not receive any funding for the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the rules of Good Clinical Practice (GPS), including International Conference on Harmonization guidelines, Directive 2001/20/EC of the European Parliament, and the most recent version of the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatjana Adzic-Vukicevic
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Aleksandra Barac
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ana Blanka-Protic
    • 2
  • Marija Laban-Lazovic
    • 2
  • Bojana Lukovic
    • 4
  • Vesna Skodric-Trifunovic
    • 1
    • 2
  • Salvatore Rubino
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Clinic for PulmonologyClinical Centre of SerbiaBelgradeSerbia
  3. 3.Clinic for Infectious and Tropical DiseasesClinical Centre of SerbiaBelgradeSerbia
  4. 4.Department for MicrobiologyClinical Centre of SerbiaBelgradeSerbia
  5. 5.Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

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