The Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific, has the largest tuberculosis epidemic in the region. There is a national tuberculosis control program, which has used smear microscopy for acid-fast bacilli as the main diagnostic tool for many years. In 2015, an Xpert MTB/RIF machine was procured and became functional within the tuberculosis hospital. The aim of this cross-sectional study, using routinely collected data, was to determine the effects of introducing Xpert MTB/RIF on laboratory smear microscopy practices and the pattern of registered tuberculosis cases. Between February 2015 and January 2016, there were 220 Xpert MTB/RIF assays performed with 6.4% errors and 15% detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: one patient showed rifampicin-resistance. One year before and after introducing Xpert MTB/RIF, the number of presumptive tuberculosis patients increased by 9% from 2,138 to 2,322. There were no changes in demographic characteristics, smear-positive results, or acid-fast bacilli grade between the two periods. The number of specimens cultured for Mycobacterium tuberculosis significantly declined from 638 to zero, with 76 positive MTB cultures before and none after introducing Xpert MTB/RIF. There was a significant change in the profile of registered tuberculosis cases with more children (34% versus 21%) and fewer bacteriologically-confirmed cases (29% versus 43%) - P < .001. Since the deployment of Xpert MTB/RIF in Kiribati, there have been a small number of assays performed and this has been associated with no adverse effects on smear microscopy, a stoppage in mycobacterial cultures, and a change in the types and categories of diagnosed tuberculosis.