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Cystic Fibrosis Questions - New AFB culture?
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New AFB culture?
Nov 06, 2011 at 4:21 PM
So the nurse called (of course on Friday afternoon) saying that my culture grew out AFB. I think she said it stands for acid-fast bacilli (?). I don't really know what that means and she wasn't forthcoming with much information. She just said I needed to drop off another sputum culture to get it growing to see if it's really a positive culture or just a fluke. I guess it takes a couple weeks for it to grow out, so that means a couple weeks of waiting and wondering. Always hate that!

Can anyone tell me what this means and how bad it is? I assume they would treat with multiple antibiotics, but I know I don't normally respond to antibiotics very well anymore. :( She didn't act like it was good, but she wouldn't really answer my questions so I'm kind of concerned - gave me a 'wait and see' attitude. I'm hesitant to google it because I know things affect us with CF differently. I'm also newly listed for a lung transplant, so I'm kind of worried that this might affect my listing. Uggh. Any info would be appreciated!
Answers
Thanks for the info. I started another culture last Friday, and so far there are no signs of AFB!!! I'm so glad, although I know they will do another culture to look for it again soon. Plus I'm only partly optimistic because I'm on Cayston right now which I heard could mask it showing up in results. :(

But I'm hoping it was just a fluke - that's happened before. Once while inpatient, the doc came in and told me I had cepacia!! Only to find out later that day that the guy in the lab read the results wrong! I could have killed someone! Anyway, I'm hoping for continued good culture results. Good to know it's treatable, although I hope I just avoided it.

BTW, no hot tubs for me!!
Nov 10, 2011 at 2:00 AM
AFB is usually a reference to a lab test and is short for Acid Fast Bacilli. It tests for mycobacteria (also known as "Acid Fast Bacilli"), one of which is Tuberculosis. The AFB test itself is pretty quick - just takes a few minutes - and usually just confirms whether there is AFB present. If so, a standard culture is done which can take several days to a few weeks to grow out, at which time they also usually do sensitivity testing. The earlier post is correct, though, because no matter which mycobacteria you test positive for, they all require very long treatment regimens. They are notoriously difficult to kill, but they CAN be killed, unlike pseudomonas or MRSA, which just keep coming back. Pretty much the only diagnosis that is super-scary is XDR TB. Everything else just takes time. If you've spent any time in a hot tub lately, you might want to consider avoiding it - they're infamous for spreading mycobacteria.
Nov 09, 2011 at 8:15 PM
i know i had AFB a few years ago. At 1st they thought i had TB and then they found out it was just AFB (thank goodness!) The way the docs described it to me is that AFB is a cousin of TB. I had to do just normal IV treatments and then i was on a pill called Biaxin (i believe, that's the 1st pill that sounded right that popped in my head) for a year. I had to take it faithfully though. Other then that they just checked up on it every appointment just to make sure it wasn't getting any worse. I think it took over a year to get fully rid of. This was a while back so i'm hopefully remembering everything correctly! THey still check for it almost every appointment, jic. I've been AFB free for a good few years now! I hope urs ain't that bad!!! :)
Nov 07, 2011 at 12:19 AM
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