The nodular form of local hepatic tuberculosis. A review

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1990 Apr;12(2):166-73. doi: 10.1097/00004836-199004000-00011.


Local hepatic tuberculosis without active pulmonary or miliary tuberculosis is an uncommon diagnosis. Even less common is the finding of tuberculoma or tuberculous liver abscess without clinical evidence of tuberculosis elsewhere. Since 1950, 21 cases of isolated tuberculoma or tuberculous abscess of the liver have been reported in the world literature. We report an additional two cases, one tuberculoma and one with multiple tuberculous abscesses. The case reports illustrate the difficulty in reaching the correct diagnosis, unsuspected in nearly all cases and most often confused with carcinoma of the liver. The correct diagnosis was made by histology, identification of acid-fast organisms by smear, and by cultures of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but required laparotomy in 19 of the 23 cases. A greater awareness of this rare clinical entity may prevent needless surgical intervention since the vast majority of patients respond well to antituberculous chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Abscess / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Tuberculoma* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculoma* / pathology
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatic* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatic* / pathology
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatic* / therapy