JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Intra-abdominal and gastrointestinal tuberculosis

S Rasheed, R Zinicola, D Watson, A Bajwa, P J McDonald
Colorectal Disease 2007, 9 (9): 773-83
17868413

OBJECTIVE: Reports suggest that the rates of tuberculosis (TB) continue to rise in the UK and throughout the world. The spread of the disease is aided by poverty, overcrowding, co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus and drug resistance. Consistent with the overall trend, intra-abdominal and gastrointestinal (GI) TB rates are rising. Tuberculosis is a treatable disease, whether occurring in the lungs or at extra-pulmonary sites but the nonspecific features of the disease result in difficulty in establishing a diagnosis. In this report, we have concentrated on the benefits and potential pitfalls of diagnostic methods.

METHOD: A literature review was performed using the National Library of Medicine's Pubmed Database using the keywords diagnosis, management, abdominal and GI TB.

RESULTS: Abdominal TB presents a particular challenge, as the diverse features of the disease do not readily suggest a particular diagnosis and diagnostic delays lead to significant morbidity and mortality. A number of investigative methods have been used to aid in the diagnosis of abdominal and GI TB.

CONCLUSION: The nonspecific presentation of abdominal and GI TB present challenges in the diagnosis of this increasingly common disease. A high index of suspicion is an important factor in early diagnosis. After a diagnosis has been established, prompt initiation of treatment helps prevent morbidity and mortality.

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