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Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis

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  • Authors: Eric H. Choi1, Walter J. Coyle2
  • Editor: David Schlossberg3
    Affiliations: 1: University of California Riverside School of Medicine and Riverside Medical Clinic, Riverside, CA 92506; 2: Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines, LaJolla, CA 92037; 3: Philadelphia Health Department, Philadelphia, PA
  • Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0014-2016
  • Received 01 October 2016 Accepted 05 October 2016 Published 18 November 2016
  • Eric H. Choi, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    Gastrointestinal tuberculosis (TB) is a fascinating disease which can be observed both in the clinical context of active pulmonary disease and as a primary infection with no pulmonary involvement. It represents a significant clinical challenge because of the resurgence of TB as well as the diagnostic challenges it poses. A high clinical suspicion remains the most powerful tool in an era of medicine when reliance on diagnostic technology increases. Antimicrobial therapy is the mainstay of therapy, but surgical and endoscopic interventions are frequently required for intestinal TB. Gastrointestinal TB is truly the “great mimic” and continues to require the astute clinical acumen of skillful clinicians to diagnose and treat.

  • Citation: Choi E, Coyle W. 2016. Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis. Microbiol Spectrum 4(6):TNMI7-0014-2016. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0014-2016.


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Gastrointestinal tuberculosis (TB) is a fascinating disease which can be observed both in the clinical context of active pulmonary disease and as a primary infection with no pulmonary involvement. It represents a significant clinical challenge because of the resurgence of TB as well as the diagnostic challenges it poses. A high clinical suspicion remains the most powerful tool in an era of medicine when reliance on diagnostic technology increases. Antimicrobial therapy is the mainstay of therapy, but surgical and endoscopic interventions are frequently required for intestinal TB. Gastrointestinal TB is truly the “great mimic” and continues to require the astute clinical acumen of skillful clinicians to diagnose and treat.

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Image of FIGURE 1

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Endoscopic image of tuberculous involvement of the ileocecal valve and proximal colon. (Courtesy of Si Young Song, Yonsei University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.)

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0014-2016
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Image of FIGURE 2

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Endoscopic image of a patulous ileocecal valve with a classic, fish mouth deformity and an ascending colon with mucosal erythema and nodularity secondary to TB. (Courtesy of Si Young Song, Yonsei University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.)

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0014-2016
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Colonoscopic image of pseudopolyposis and stenosis from TB involvement of the transverse colon. (Courtesy of Si Young Song, Yonsei University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.)

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0014-2016
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Image of FIGURE 4

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CT scan demonstrating segmental and circumferential wall thickening of the proximal colon due to TB involvement. (Courtesy of Si Young Song, Yonsei University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.)

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0014-2016
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Symptoms of gastrointestinal TB

Source: microbiolspec November 2016 vol. 4 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0014-2016

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