Peritoneal Tuberculosis in Laparoscopic Era

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Peritoneal tuberculosis is uncommon in developed countries, but as the general incidence of tuberculosis is on the rise in Romania so is the case with peritoneal localization of the disease. The present study retrospectively analyzed 18 patients (8 males and 10 females, mean age 50 years, range 17-74 years) diagnosed in our department with peritoneal tuberculosis between 1995 and 2007. Results: Ascites was present in all but one case. Other common findings were weight loss (12 cases), weakness (5 cases), abdominal pain (16 cases), anorexia (6 cases) and night sweat (3 cases). Abdominal ultrasound has been used to demonstrate ascites in 16 cases. Only two patients had chest radiography suggestive for active tuberculosis. Laparotomy was performed in four cases, laparoscopy in 14 cases (two conversions). Intraoperative findings included multiple diffuse involvements of the visceral and parietal peritoneum, white “miliary nodules” or plaques, enlarged lymph nodes, ascites, “violin string” fibrinous strands, and omental thickening. Biopsy specimens showed granulomas, while ascitic fluid showed numerous lymphocytes. We conclude that the symptoms of abdominal tuberculosis vary greatly, and laparoscopy can be essential for diagnosis and management. The operation is safe, reliable with few complications and permits a prompt diagnosis, necessary to cure the patient.

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