JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Tuberculosis presenting as bilateral vocal fold palsy: case report and review of otolaryngological manifestations of tuberculosis

C E Rennie, I Pai, D Selvadurai
Journal of Laryngology and Otology 2011, 125 (10): 1079-82
21810295

OBJECTIVE: We report a rare case of tuberculosis presenting with bilateral vocal fold palsy.

METHOD: Case report and discussion of ENT manifestations of tuberculosis.

CASE REPORT: A 39-year-old man presented with stridor and bilateral vocal fold palsies, and underwent an emergency tracheostomy. Intra-operatively, a mass was identified overlying the thyroid cartilage. Fine needle aspiration cytology of this mass showed well formed granulomas but negative Ziehl-Nielsen staining. Computed tomography showed the mass to be surrounding the thyroid cartilage, causing airway occlusion; pulmonary infiltrates were also seen. The patient was commenced on tuberculosis treatment. Subsequent sputum samples from the tracheostomy confirmed the diagnosis. The patient responded very well to treatment, and was successfully decannulated after one week.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of tuberculosis in the UK is increasing, particularly in urban areas. The otolaryngologist may encounter a wide variety of presentations. Diagnosis requires a high index of clinical suspicion.

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