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October 1990

Clinical Spectrum of Endobronchial Tuberculosis in Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Geriatric Medicine, St Norbertus Hospital, Duffel, Belgium (Dr Verbeken); and the Department of Pathology (Dr Demedts), and Clinic of Lung Diseases (Drs Van den Brande and Van de Mierop), University Hospitals, Leuven, Belgium.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(10):2105-2108. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390210081018

• We describe 11 elderly patients with bacteriologically proved endobronchial tuberculosis, representing 15% of our 73 geriatric patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in the period 1980 to 1987. In seven (64%) of the 11 patients, an incorrect diagnosis was initially made. Cough, mostly nonproductive, was invariably present, and general symptoms (fever, anorexia, weight loss) predominated over specific pulmonary symptoms. The radiographic features were rather "unusual": in only two (18%) of the 11 cases, apicoposterior consolidations with or without cavitation were found. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy showed a range of endobronchial abnormalities that included ulcerations, mass lesions, and fibrostenoses. Antituberculous treatment generally led to satisfactory results. Still, residual bronchostenosis was observed in four (57%) of seven patients in whom a control bronchoscopy was done. In one of these four patients, a pneumonectomy had to be performed for uncontrollable retro-obstructive infections, and in another, repeated endoscopic dilatations were effective. In elderly patients, endobronchial tuberculosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis, especially in the presence of chronic cough. In these patients, the chest roentgenogram may be clear or suggestive of bronchial carcinoma or pneumonitis.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:2105-2108)

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