Abdominal tuberculosis in children

Ozbey H. , Tireli G., Salman T.

European Journal of Pediatric Surgery, vol.13, no.2, pp.116-119, 2003 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Doi Number: 10.1055/s-2003-39588
  • Journal Name: European Journal of Pediatric Surgery
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.116-119
  • Keywords: Abdominal tuberculosis, Children


Abdominal tuberculosis (AT) is a rare cause of intraabdominal infection. Surgical intervention is rarely indicated, other than obtaining a specimen for histopathological diagnosis or for the treatment of complications. Methods: The medical records of 14 patients who were operated on after the diagnosis of AT between 1983 and 2000 were reviewed retrospectively. Results: Median age was 7 years (6 months to 10 years). The presenting clinical signs and symptoms were as follows: colicky abdominal pain (9), weight loss (8), abdominal mass (6), vomiting (5), and night fever (5). Two patients were operated at another centre and referred to our department with faecal fistula and severe malnutrition. Twelve patients were operated on, while diagnostic laparoscopy was performed in two. In uncomplicated cases, surgical intervention was limited to sampling of peritoneal tissue, lymph node and ascites. The reasons for surgical intervention were intestinal obstruction (9), abdominal mass and ascites (6), psoas abscess (1) and intussusception (1). Adhesive peritonitis and ileal loops were the cause of abdominal mass. Necrosis of the bowel (2) and perforation (1) were detected in three patients. The diagnosis was confirmed either by histopathological or microbiological examination. In eight patients, AT was defined at the intestinal mesentery, in three patients it was localised to the peritoneum and in two patients the disease was diffuse. All patients except one with faecal fistula survived and were treated successfully with antituberculous therapy (isoniasid, rifampicin, streptomycin and pyrazinamide combination). Conclusion: The diagnosis of AT is difficult before presentation with complications of intraabdominal infection. Since the response to chemotherapy is usually excellent in patients with suspected AT, aggressive surgery should be avoided and initial surgical intervention should be limited to tissue and/or fluid sampling.