High jejunal perforation complicating tuberculous abdominal cocoon: a rare presentation in immune-competent male patient

J Gastrointest Surg. 2009 Jul;13(7):1373-5. doi: 10.1007/s11605-009-0825-7. Epub 2009 Feb 24.


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) peritonitis is a rare presentation of TB that is typically insidious, presenting with systemic symptoms and nonspecific abdominal pain. In the majority of the cases, this leads to bowel obstruction and rarely causes abdominal cocoon. The disease process predominantly affects the small bowel with a tendency to involve the terminal ileum, leading to perforation on rare occasions.

Methods: We are presenting a case report of multiple small-bowel perforations in immune-competent male patient complicating a TB cocoon and discuss clinical course and therapeutic options.

Discussion: TB cocoon is a rare form of TB peritonitis presenting usually in the form of bowel obstruction. However, TB can cause multiple bowel perforations, particularly in children and immune-compromised patients. Such presentation carries a high rate of mortality. With the global increase in TB infections and the emergence of aggressive, multidrug-resistant strains, more severe manifestations are expected to increase. We presented a case of such severe acute manifestation on a background of insidious TB cocoon in a fit immune-competent male. Although primary repair of TB perforation is considered hazardous, it could not be avoided on this occasion. Nevertheless, proximal defunctioning jejunostomy and the early use of anti-TB drugs seemed to facilitate healing in such scenario.

Conclusions: TB should be considered in all cases of atypical bowel perforations. Proximal jejunostomy and early use of anti-TB drugs can facilitate primary repair in aggressive TB infection with multiple bowel perforations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diagnosis
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunocompetence
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestinal Perforation / surgery*
  • Jejunal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Jejunal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Jejunal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Jejunal Diseases / surgery*
  • Jejunostomy / methods
  • Laparotomy / methods
  • Peritonitis, Tuberculous / diagnosis
  • Peritonitis, Tuberculous / diagnostic imaging*
  • Peritonitis, Tuberculous / therapy*
  • Rare Diseases
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antitubercular Agents