Shobha Swaminathan, MD



A case of miliary TB complicated by ARDS and pancytopenia

June 01, 2007

We present a case of a 35-year-old man with fever and pancytopenia, who had rapid progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiorgan failure, and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy secondary to disseminated tuberculosis (TB). Although both sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid smears were negative for acid-fast bacilli, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay on the BAL fluid was positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This case emphasizes the need to include TB in the differential for ARDS and the value of PCR testing of BAL fluid, especially in high-risk patients.