Extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Experience of a community hospital and review of the literature

Am J Med. 1985 Oct;79(4):467-78. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(85)90034-8.


Extrapulmonary tuberculosis accounted for 37 percent of all new cases of active tuberculous infection identified at a 522-bed community hospital during an 11-year period. Forty-five foci of extrapulmonary infection were diagnosed in 38 patients. Involvement of the genitourinary system, lymphatic system, and respiratory system, other than the lung, was most common and accounted for 58 percent of all infections. Presenting symptoms were protean and often resulted in long delays between onset of symptoms and eventual diagnosis. Foreign birthplace, prior history of or exposure to tuberculosis, constitutional symptoms, febrile course, and anemia were important findings suggesting the diagnosis. Results of tuberculin skin tests were positive in 31 of 34 patients. Chest radiography demonstrated abnormalities in 25 of 38 patients. Cultures showed growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 27 of 39 affected sites, and caseating granulomas were identified in 31 instances. It is concluded that extrapulmonary tuberculosis remains an important infectious disease problem despite the overall decrease in the national incidence of tuberculosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Connecticut
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculin Test
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pleural / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Urogenital / epidemiology*