Tuberculous sternal osteomyelitis

Am J Emerg Med. 2014 Oct;32(10):1302.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2014.03.048. Epub 2014 Apr 4.


A 32-year-old female patient with systemic lupus erythematosus presented with 1 month of nocturnal subjective fevers, night sweats, poor appetite, malaise, 8-kg weight loss, and a 6-cm painful sternal mass. She had normal vital signs with a physical examination notable only for the presence of a fluctuating sternal mass. A computed tomographic scan of the thorax showed a 67 × 32 × 27-mm sternal mass associated with severe sternal osteomyelitis (Fig. 1); then a surgical drainage was performed, and abundant caseous material was removed, leaving a penrose drain (Fig. 2). Histologic examination of the bone tissue revealed extensive necrosis and granulomas with multinucleated giant cells. The bone, secretion, and soft tissue were negative for acid-fast bacillae on Ziehl-Neelsen stain; but culture grew Mycobacterioum tuberculosis, and she was started on 4 first-line antituberculosis medications, showing rapid symptomatic improvement, and was discharged 4 weeks after admission (Fig. 3).

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Osteomyelitis / complications
  • Osteomyelitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteomyelitis / therapy
  • Sternum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sternum / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tuberculosis, Osteoarticular / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Osteoarticular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tuberculosis, Osteoarticular / therapy


  • Antitubercular Agents