Introduction Tuberculosis (TB) carries significant morbidity. It is most commonly pulmonary but it can also affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (6% of total cases in UK). Abdominal tuberculosis (A-TB) is a rare disease which can present a unique diagnostic challenge mimicking various GI diseases. We reviewed a 10 year cumulative regional TB database to report results on this unusual condition.
Method A retrospective review of patients diagnosed with A-TB between 2006 & 2016 in a single tertiary centre in South Birmingham covering a multi-ethnic urban population of ~7 50 000. A central surveillance database managed by Respiratory Physicians and Public Health England was used to identify patients with A-TB. We reviewed clinical data from electronic records including radiology, chemical pathology, histopathology, endoscopy databases, surgical notes and letters.
Results Of 41 patients [M=22 (54%);mean age 42y (SD ±17y)] identified with A-TB, 17 (41%) were Pakistani, 6 (15%) were other Asian and 8 (19%) were Afro-Caribbean with no data on country of origin or ethnicity recorded for the remainder. Thirty three (80%) were residents of economically deprived areas of Birmingham which were among the 10% of most deprived constituencies in UK, with an overall lowest national decile of 1#.(# Index of multiple deprivation as per local council)
The most frequently reported symptoms were abdominal pain (n=23; 56%), weight loss (n=17; 41%), fever (n=10; 24%) and vomiting (n=9; 22%). Twelve (29%) patients were first seen in the surgical clinic and 9 (22%) in a medical gastroenterology clinic. A-TB was confirmed on tissue biopsy in 24 (58%) of which 2 were post-bowel resection. Seventeen (41%) patients had positive cultures with full drug sensitivity and only 5 (12%) patients had polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Eight patients (20%) had concurrent pulmonary TB. Thirty seven patients (90%) received full, successful treatment for A-TB.
Conclusion Asian ethnicity and low socioeconomic status appear to be risk factors for A-TB in a single tertiary centre. Histological diagnosis at endoscopic or surgical biopsy is a reliable diagnostic tool for confirming TB. Both gastroenterologists and surgeons need to consider A-TB in their differentials, as once diagnosed, most are successfully treated.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
- abdominal tuberculosis
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