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October 12, 1998

Establishing the Diagnosis of Tuberculous Pleuritis

Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(18):1967-1968. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.18.1967

TUBERCULOUS PLEURITIS continues to occur throughout the world. Indeed, in many countries, including Spain1 and many African countries, tuberculosis is the leading cause of pleural effusions. Even in the United States, tuberculosis is responsible for a significant percentage of pleural effusions. When a patient with an exudative pleural effusion is evaluated, it is important to rule out the diagnosis of tuberculous pleuritis. If a patient with tuberculous pleuritis is not treated, the pleural effusion will usually resolve spontaneously. The patient, however, has a high likelihood (approximately 65%) of developing pulmonary or extrapulmonary tuberculosis within the subsequent 5 years.2

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