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Papers of the Week

2022 Oct




Delayed Diagnosis of Intestinal Tuberculosis: A Case Report.


Araújo T, Silva A, Laranjo P, Shigaeva Y, Bernardo T
Cureus. 2022 Oct; 14(10):e30600.
PMID: 36420228.


Abdominal tuberculosis is an uncommon clinical entity, and it can involve the gastrointestinal tract but also the peritoneum, lymph nodes, and solid organs. Its prevalence is higher among individuals from endemic regions for tuberculosis. Epidemiological risk factors associated with typical symptoms and complementary exams should prompt early treatment. We describe the case of a 47-year-old man, originally from India, residing in Portugal for approximately a year. He presented to our emergency department with a three-week-long history of diarrhea, diffuse abdominal pain, more intense on the left quadrants of the abdomen, anorexia, asthenia, and loss of nearly 10% of his body weight. Abdominal and pelvic imaging showed diffuse circumferential thickening of the distal ileum and adjacent mesentery with associated lymphadenopathies. A colonoscopy confirmed the presence of an ulcerated deformative lesion of the cecum with the involvement of the terminal ileum. Initial suspicion of infectious colitis versus inflammatory bowel disease led the team to prescribe antibiotics and corticosteroid therapy, which was associated with bronchoalveolar lavage and sputum samples negative for , delaying the diagnosis of intestinal tuberculosis. The lack of improvement after weeks of the initial medical therapy, and with histopathological examination of cervical lymphadenopathy showing the presence of granulomatous lymphadenitis with necrosis, led the medical team to start antituberculostatic therapy. The patient showed significant clinical and laboratory improvement, but after two months of adequate treatment a cavitated nodule appeared on the upper lobe of the left lung, and a   was identified in the bronchoalveolar lavage. Timely diagnosis and adequate treatment are essential to lower mortality rates of intestinal tuberculosis, and epidemiological risk factors have a great deal of importance on this matter and must always be taken into account.