BTA examination is procedure to detect bacteria causes of tuberculosis (TB). Bacteria the cause of TB can live in an acidic environment. Because of that, inspection to these bacteria are called with inspection acid fast bacteria (AFB).
BTA examination generally uses sputum samples, because TB most often attacks the lungs. If the phlegm cannot come out of the respiratory tract, the patient can undergo a bronchoscopy procedure to collect a phlegm sample
Apart from phlegm samples, BTA examinations can also use blood, stool, urine or bone marrow samples to look for TB infections outside the lungs. BTA examination can also be carried out on leprosy sufferers. However, BTA examination in leprosy does not use phlegm samples, but skin samples.
This article discusses BTA examination with sputum samples.
Indications for BTA examination
BTA examination is carried out on people suspected of suffering from tuberculosis (TB) infection living in an environment where there is a risk of close contact with TB sufferers, and on HIV/AIDS sufferers with chronic coughs.
Common symptoms of tuberculosis are:
- Chronic cough
- Coughing blood
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Excessive sweating at night
This examination can also be used to assess the effectiveness of treatment for tuberculosis.
Warning and Contraindications BTA examination
BTA examination by taking a sputum sample is generally safe for anyone to do. However, this examination will be difficult to carry out in children or elderly patients who are uncooperative. Meanwhile, in patients who experience decreased consciousness, sputum samples will be taken using bronchoscopy.
Before BTA examination
Patients who plan to undergo sputum sampling should not eat or drink in the morning after waking up. Furthermore, patients are advised to brush their teeth before collecting phlegm samples. It is important to remember, patients should not use antiseptic mouthwash (mouthwash) when brushing your teeth.
BTA Examination Sampling Procedure
Sputum samples for BTA examination will be carried out in the morning so that the results are more accurate. The doctor will provide a special sterilized container to collect the phlegm sample.
To expel phlegm, there are several ways that patients can do, including:
- Take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.
- Cough slowly or harder until phlegm comes out.
- Remove the sputum into the prepared container.
- Repeat the steps above until the doctor says the sample needed is sufficient.
- Close the sputum sample container and clean the outside, then hand it to the doctor.
Sputum collection will be carried out three times using the SPS time method (at any time in the morning). The first sputum sample is taken at the first visit. Meanwhile, the second sample will be taken the following morning.
Meanwhile, a third sputum sample was taken when the patient delivered the second sputum sample to the laboratory.
If the patient cannot expel phlegm using this method, the doctor will perform a bronchoscopy procedure. This method uses a bronchoscope, which is a flexible tube equipped with a light and camera at the end. The stages of taking sputum samples using the bronchoscopy method that can be carried out by a doctor are:
- Spraying local anesthetic into the patient’s nose
- Give sedatives to make the patient more relaxed, or sleeping pills so that the patient falls asleep during the procedure
- Insert the bronchoscope tube through the nose or mouth until it reaches the part where there is phlegm
- Withdraw the bronchoscope tube and remove the sputum sample
BTA examination with bronchoscopy generally takes around 30–60 minutes. Next, the doctor will examine the sputum sample in the laboratory using a special substance.
The BTA examination is the fastest and easiest method to carry out compared to other tests for TB disease, such as BTA culture and genexpert.
After BTA examination
After the BTA examination is complete, the doctor will convey the results to the patient. Patients diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) need to take TB medication until the time limit determined by the doctor. Generally, TB medication is taken for 6 months or more.
Patients must comply with recommendations for taking medication to prevent bacterial resistance to TB drugs. Healing will be more difficult if the TB bacteria are resistant to the drug, and it can even be fatal, causing death.
Side Effects and Complications BTA examination
BTA examination by coughing out phlegm is generally safe and does not cause side effects. Even if they appear, these side effects are relatively mild, such as throat irritation which causes blood spots in the saliva or phlegm, and dizziness due to coughing too hard when expelling phlegm.
Meanwhile, if a sputum sample is taken using the bronchoscopy method, the patient may experience complaints such as sore throat, as well as infection and bleeding in the sample collection area.
Patients are advised to immediately see a doctor if they experience the following symptoms after undergoing bronchoscopy:
- High fever
- Hemorrhagic cough that worsens
- Chest pain