Welcome to the NORD Physician Guide to Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Lung Disease (NTM). The NORD Online Physician Guides are written for physicians by physicians with expertise on specific rare disorders. This guide was written by Leah Lande, MD, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Lankenau Medical Center. (see acknowledgements for additional information).
NORD is a nonprofit organization representing all patients and families affected by rare diseases. The information NORD provides to medical professionals is intended to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment for patients.
NTM are mycobacterial species that are ubiquitous in the environment, and are classified separately from Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex and Mycobacterium leprae. Most of the disease burden from NTM is due to chronic lung infections in immunocompetent individuals with or without underlying lung disease.
NTM pulmonary infection can occur in patients with underlying lung disease such as COPD, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, primary ciliary dyskinesia and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and can also occur in individuals without any prior underlying lung disease
The American Thoracic Society and Infectious Disease Society of America have published joint guidelines outlining the diagnostic criteria for pulmonary NTM infection.
Specific treatment decisions will vary considerably depending on individual patient factors and antimicrobial susceptibility of the organisms.
There is a report on the following related topic in NORD’s online Rare Disease Database for patients, families and the public at: