Opinions differ by expertise in mycobacteriumavium complex disease

Theodore K. Marras, D. Rebecca Prevots, Frances B. Jamieson, Kevin L. Winthrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Rationale: Pulmonary Mycobacterium avium complex treatment guidelines rely largely on expert opinion. The extent to which nonexperts agree with recommendations of experts in this clinical area is unknown. Objectives: We sought to compare practices and perceptions of prognosis between experts and nonexperts. Methods: We surveyed respirologists (Ontario, Canada, "nonexperts") and experts from nontuberculous mycobacterial disease centers of excellence (Canada and United States). Measurements and Main Results: Forty-six Ontario respirologists (29% of 160) and 19 experts (73% of 26) participated. There was agreement between nonexperts and experts regarding disease duration before diagnosis (2 yr), likelihood of spontaneous remission (7-15%), typical duration of treatment (18 mo), first choice of therapy (guideline regimens), a subgroup of patients for whom less-intensive regimens are favored (10% after recurrence), likelihood of recurrence (30%), and median survival (10 yr in most patients). Noted differences were that nonexperts estimated fewer patients with a positive culture had disease (30% vs. 50%, P = 0.02), used intensive guidelines therapy less often in new cases (50% vs. 79%, P = 0.02), and perceived a slightly lower success rate with guidelines therapy (65% vs. 75%, P = 0.047). Response ranges were wider for nonexperts, significantly so for selection of intensive guidelines therapy in new (P = 0.01) and recurrent (P = 0.04) cases. Conclusion: Experts and nonexperts agreed on many issues. However, nonexperts perceived lower rates of disease among patients with isolates, tended to use less aggressive treatment approaches, and perceived lower success rates. Significant variability was observed in responses - often wider among nonexperts. Although these results are likely biased by referral, they may identify important areas for targeted education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection
  • Mycobacterium infections
  • Nontuberculous
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria
  • Practice guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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