PMID: 719333Nov 1, 1978Paper

Tuberculosis of the peritoneal cavity

The British Journal of Surgery
G A KhouryD R Harvey

Abstract

The clinical presentation and management of 30 consecutive patients with tuberculous peritonitis are reviewed. Seventy per cent of the patients were aged 40 years or less and 80 per cent were immigrants. The main clinical features of abdominal pain, loss of weight, vomiting and sweating at night had been present in a large number of patients for several months before presentation to hospital. The clinical diagnosis of tuberculous peritonitis was difficult in the absence of extraperitoneal tuberculosis. Laboratory investigations were of little value in establishing the diagnosis. An elevated ESR was found in 80 per cent of patients. At laparotomy omental biopsy was performed and was diagnostic in all cases. Laparotomy was a safe and fast method of obtaining tissue for confirmation of the diagnosis in suspected cases, particularly when presenting acutely. Ascitic fluid cultures and guinea-pig inoculations were positive in only 6 out of the 15 patients in whom they were performed. Only 1 patient died.

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