Hypercalcaemia and haemophagocytic syndrome: rare concurrent presentations of disseminated tuberculosis in a dialysis patient

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Abstract

Summary

Tuberculosis remains an important cause of infection in chronic haemodialysis patients. Frequent extrapulmonary involvement, non-specific presentation and limited diagnostic tools usually make early diagnosis difficult. Herein, we report on an 83-year-old female patient who had been on regular heamodialysis therapy for 15 years, who presented with asymptomatic hypercalcaemia and pancytopenia. Haemophagocytic syndrome was documented during the admission period. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was cultured from bone marrow 1 month after her demise. This case report highlights the non-specific manifestations of extrapulmonary tuberculosis in dialysis patients and the limited value of conventional diagnostic methods. We would like to recommend aggressive intervention and early tissue aspiration from possible infectious sites when tuberculosis cannot be completely ruled out. Disseminated tuberculosis should be considered as an indication of hypercalcaemia where haemophagocytic syndrome occurs simultaneously.

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