Undiagnosed tuberculosis in hospitalized patients--an autopsy survey

J R Soc Health. 1990 Aug;110(4):141-3. doi: 10.1177/146642409011000411.


Tuberculosis (TB) causes unnecessary deaths because of failure to diagnose and treat what is today a curable disease. A retrospective study was carried out in a general hospital to assess the magnitude of undiagnosed tuberculosis in hospitalized patients. Sixty-three cases of active tuberculosis, 39 of which were diagnosed only at autopsy, were found among 1306 autopsy cases during a three year study period. The reasons for the failure of diagnosis are discussed. For a correct diagnosis, the post-mortem examination must be systematic and include bacteriological and histological studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / pathology