Tuberculosis and chronic renal disease

Semin Dial. 2003 Jan-Feb;16(1):38-44. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-139x.2003.03010.x.


There is an increased risk (6.9- to 52.5-fold) of tuberculosis (TB) in patients with chronic renal failure and on dialysis as compared to the general population. The symptomatology in renal patients is often insidious and nonspecific, mimicking uremic symptoms, whereas the localization is often extrapulmonary (most frequently tuberculous lymphadenitis and peritonitis). Tuberculous peritonitis makes up a large part (37%) of the total number of TB cases in continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients. The prognosis is very much dependent on early diagnosis and treatment. Renal physicians should be aware of the unusual presentation and localization, and include TB in the differential diagnosis of any patient having nonspecific symptoms like anorexia, fever, and weight loss. All efforts should then be made (including invasive investigations) to reach an early diagnosis, a major determinant of the outcome. However, if this is not possible or the result is negative and the diagnosis remains strongly suspected, an empirical trial with anti-TB medication is justified, especially in endemic areas. In view of the increased prevalence of the disease in the dialysis population, TB prophylaxis is recommended in those patients with a positive tuberculin (Mantoux) skin test and radiographs suggestive of old TB.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Peritonitis / microbiology
  • Peritonitis / therapy
  • Renal Dialysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk
  • Tuberculosis / complications*
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antitubercular Agents