Intra-abdominal and gastrointestinal tuberculosis

Colorectal Dis. 2007 Nov;9(9):773-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2007.01337.x. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / microbiology
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Peritonitis, Tuberculous* / diagnosis
  • Peritonitis, Tuberculous* / microbiology
  • Peritonitis, Tuberculous* / therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal* / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal* / therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant* / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant* / therapy