Gastrointestinal tuberculosis

Singapore Med J. 2009 Jun;50(6):638-45; quiz 646.


Tuberculosis (TB) infection is still common and remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly in underdeveloped and developing nations. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the sixth commonest extrapulmonary site to be affected after lymphatic, genitourinary, bones and joints, miliary and meningeal involvement. Manifestations can be non-specific and mimic many conditions, including malignancies. Findings from endoscopy and radiological imaging are myriad, and depend on the stage of the disease and the time at which investigations are carried out. Hence, diagnosis can be difficult. Endoscopy is now the investigation of choice as it allows for visualisation and the sampling of tissue for histology and culture. This is complemented by radiological imaging. This pictorial essay reviews some of the endoscopic and radiological findings of non-human immunodeficiency virus associated proven GI TB infections that we have encountered in a tertiary referral centre.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Endoscopy / methods
  • Esophagus / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal / physiopathology