Abdominal Tuberculosis

  • Mani Prasad Gautam National Academy of Medical Sciences Bir Hospital, Kathmandu
  • P Karki B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan
  • S Rijal B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan


Tuberculosis is a common disease and its incidence is in rising tendency in developed world because of AIDS
and transglobal migration. Abdominal tuberculosis is more common in immunocompromised population
and manifests as infection of peritoneum, hollow or solid abdominal organs and abdominal lymphatics with
mycobacterium tuberculosis organism. The peritoneum and ileo-cecal region are the most likely sites of
infection and are involved in the majority of cases by hematogenous spread or through swallowing of infected
sputum from primary pulmonary tuberculosis. Pulmonary tuberculosis is evident in less than half of patients
either in active or latent form. Abdominal tuberculosis has a protean manifestation although the most
common clinical feature is the triad of abdominal pain, fever and weight loss. The diagnosis is often delayed
because of non-specific presentation and is usually made through a combination of radiologic, microbiologic,
histopathologic, endoscopic and molecular techniques. None of them provide a gold standard by themselves.
However, an algorithm of these diagnostic methods leads to considerably higher precision in the diagnosis
of abdominal tuberculosis which primarily necessitates a clinical awareness of this serious health problem.
Abdominal tuberculosis is a serious condition and if untreated outcome is fatal. Early diagnosis and immediate
initiation of treatment along with dietary support is crucial for better outcome. Antimicrobial treatment is
the same as for pulmonary tuberculosis and management often requires combination of antitubercular
drugs and surgery – for diagnosis as well as therapy.

Key Words: Tuberculosis; Abdominal Tuberculosis; Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis.

How to Cite
Gautam, M. P., Karki, P., & Rijal, S. (2004). Abdominal Tuberculosis. Journal of Nepal Medical Association, 43(151), 40-48. https://doi.org/10.31729/jnma.624
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