BACKGROUND: Despite effective treatments, tuberculosis-related mortality remains high among patients requiring admission to the intensive care unit (ICU).OBJECTIVE: To determine prognostic factors of death in tuberculosis patients admitted to the ICU, and to develop a simple predictive scoring system.METHODS: A 10-year, retrospective study of 53 patients admitted consecutively to the Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Lariboisière (Paris, France) ICU with confirmed tuberculosis, was conducted. A multivariate analysis was performed to identify risk factors for death. A predictive fatality score was determined.RESULTS: Diagnoses included pulmonary tuberculosis (96%) and tuberculous encephalomeningitis (26%). Patients required mechanical ventilation (45%) and vasopressor infusion (28%) on admission. Twenty patients (38%) died, related to direct tuberculosis-induced organ failure (n=5), pulmonary bacterial coinfections (n=14) and pulmonary embolism (n=1). Using a multivariate analysis, three independent factors on ICU admission were predictive of fatality: miliary pulmonary tuberculosis (OR 9.04 [95% CI 1.25 to 65.30]), mechanical ventilation (OR 11.36 [95% CI 1.55 to 83.48]) and vasopressor requirement (OR 8.45 [95% CI 1.29 to 55.18]). A score generated by summing these three independent variables was effective at predicting fatality with an area under the ROC curve of 0.92 (95% CI 0.85 to 0.98).CONCLUSIONS: Fatalities remain high in patients admitted to the ICU with tuberculosis. Miliary pulmonary tuberculosis, mechanical ventilation and vasopressor requirement on admission were predictive of death.