Archana Ahluwalia, MD


Prompt diagnosis and therapy are keys to reducing mortality Extrapulmonary tuberculosis, part 5: Pericardial involvement key words: Tuberculosis, Pericarditis, Pericardial effusion

July 01, 2007

abstract: Tuberculous pericarditis, while relatively rare in the United States, is an important cause of pericardial disease in countries where tuberculosis is prevalent. Patients are most likely to present with chronic disease--effusive and/or constrictive. Those with effusive pericarditis often present with tamponade. Patients with constrictive pericarditis exhibit features of systemic and pulmonary venous congestion. An elevated level of adenosine deaminase in pericardial fluid is a good marker for tuberculosis. The presence of granulomas or case-ation necrosis in pericardial tissue confirms the diagnosis. If treatment of effusive tuberculous pericarditis is delayed, constrictive or effusive-constrictive disease usually develops, resulting in a high mortality risk. In addition to a standard antituberculosis regimen, treatment of tuberculous pericarditis may include adjuvant therapy with corticosteroids, pericardiocentesis, and/or pericardiectomy. (J Respir Dis. 2007;28(7):278-282)

Extrapulmonary tuberculosis, part 4: Skeletal involvement

December 01, 2005

Abstract: Spinal tuberculosis is the most common form of osteoarticular involvement in patients with tuberculosis. Localized pain is a common presenting symptom. In patients who do not present until vertebral wedging and collapse have occurred, a localized knuckle kyphosis is obvious, especially in the dorsal spine. In some patients, a retropharyngeal abscess develops, causing dysphagia, dyspnea, and/or hoarseness. Peripheral joint tuberculosis is characterized by an insidious onset of slowly progressive, painful, and swollen monoarthropathy, most commonly affecting the hip or knee. The radiologic features include juxta-articular osteoporosis, peripheral osseous erosion, and gradual narrowing of the interosseous space. Treatment involves antituberculosis drugs; the indications for surgery are relatively limited. (J Respir Dis. 2005; 26(12):543-546)

Extrapulmonary tuberculosis, part 3: Abdominal involvement

November 01, 2005

Abstract: In addition to causing pulmonary disease, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis can result in a wide range of extrapulmonary manifestations, including abdominal involvement. Patients with acute tuberculous peritonitis typically present with fever, weight loss, night sweats, and abdominal pain and swelling. Intestinal tuberculosis is characterized by weight loss, anorexia, and abdominal pain (usually in the right lower quadrant). A palpable abdominal mass may be present. Patients with primary hepatic tuberculosis may have a hard, nodular liver or recurrent jaundice. The workup may involve tuberculin skin testing, imaging studies, fine-needle aspiration, colonoscopy, and peritoneal biopsy. Percutaneous liver biopsy and laparoscopy are the main methods of diagnosing primary hepatic tuberculosis. Treatment includes antituberculosis drug therapy and, in some cases, surgery. (J Respir Dis. 2005;26(11):485-488)

Extrapulmonary tuberculosis, part 2: CNS involvement

September 01, 2005

Abstract: Tuberculous meningitis has several different clinical presentations, including an acute meningitic syndrome simulating pyogenic meningitis, status epilepticus, stroke syndrome, and movement disorders. Cranial nerve palsies and seizures occur in about one third of patients, and vision loss is reported by almost 50%. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) typically shows moderately elevated levels of lymphocytes and protein and low levels of glucose. The demonstration of acid-fast bacilli in the CSF smear or Mycobacterium tuberculosis in culture confirms the diagnosis. CNS tuberculosis may also manifest as intracranial tuberculomas. The characteristic CT and MRI finding is a nodular enhancing lesion with a central hypointensity. Antituberculosis treatment should be initiated promptly when either tuberculous meningitis or tuberculoma is suspected. (J Respir Dis. 2005;26(9):392-400)

Extrapulmonary tuberculosis, part 1: Pleural and lymph node disease

August 01, 2005

Abstract: Pleural tuberculosis and lymph node involvement are the most common extrapulmonary manifestations of tuberculosis. Most patients with pleural involvement complain of pleuritic chest pain, nonproductive cough, and dyspnea. The pleural effusion is usually unilateral and small to moderate in size. The diagnosis depends on the demonstration of acid-fast bacilli in pleural fluid or biopsy specimens, or the presence of caseous granulomas in the pleura. The gold standard for the diagnosis of lymph node tuberculosis is the identification of mycobacteria in smears on fine-needle aspiration cytopathology, histopathology, or mycobacterial culture. On ultrasonography and CT, the lymph nodes show enlargement with hypoechoic/hypodense areas that demonstrate central necrosis and peripheral rim enhancement or calcification. Treatment involves the combination of 4 antituberculosis drugs for 2 months, followed by 2-drug therapy for 4 months. (J Respir Dis. 2005;26(8):326-332)