Mycobacterium – NTM-Susceptibility

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Testing Indications

To request susceptibility testing for NTM, contact the Public Health laboratory for approval.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Mycobacterium – NTM Susceptibility

Viable (Non-tuberculosis mycobacterium) NTM culture


Solid or liquid mycobacterium culture medium

Submission and Collection Notes


Approval for NTM drug susceptibility testing must be given prior to specimen submission.


Approval is based on meeting disease criteria:

  • Sterile site isolation, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) isolation, bronch isolation, multiple specimens with growth (e.g. sputum)
  • Treatment is planned or ongoing
  • Susceptibilities are needed to plan or modify treatment

Susceptibility testing must be made within 3 months of culture identification.


Susceptibility testing is performed once per year per patient unless a different organism grows.


Susceptibility testing is not performed on M. gordonae and M. paragordonae isolates as these are generally considered not clinically significant.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Place specimen container in the biohazard bag and seal bag, and insert the completed requisition in the pocket on the outside of the sealed biohazard bag.

Special Instructions

Specimens should be submitted to PHO laboratory ASAP where possible.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Susceptibility testing for NTM is performed at the National Reference Centre for Mycobacteriology (NRCM), Winnipeg.

TAT for NTM susceptibility results from NRCM may take 2-6 weeks from the date that the culture is submitted to them. Results may take longer depending on the organism submitted for testing (e.g. slow grower).

Test Methods

Susceptibility testing for NTM is performed at the National Reference Centre for Mycobacteriology (NRCM), Winnipeg.

If testing is approved by the laboratory, a subculture will be prepared from the original isolate (original isolates are available for 3 months from the date of identification). Once adequate growth has been attained the subculture will be shipped to the National Reference Center for Mycobacteriology (NRCM), Winnipeg.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

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Updated 1 Nov 2021