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May 1965

Nonpulmonary Tuberculosis: A Surgical Masquerader

Author Affiliations

From the Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1965;90(5):736-744. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320110072013

FOR HALF a century after Robert Koch isolated the tubercle bacillus and proved it to be the causal agent of the multiple manifestations of that ancient disease, phthisis, physicians were well aware of the ubiquitous nature of the organism and maintained a high index of suspicion when confronted with suspicious lesions in any part of the body. However, with virtual elimination of bovine tuberculosis by public health measures and more importantly introduction of the antituberculosis drugs, the incidence of the disease has diminished greatly, with a general decrease in awareness by the medical profession of the many and varied pathologic lesions of tuberculosis. This is particularly true of nonpulmonary tuberculosis especially when there are no evidences of pulmonary disease.

Recently our attention has been focused sharply on the protean nature of tuberculosis by discovery at operation or by examination of the excised specimen of active tuberculous lesions in patients without

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