An Analysis of the Clinical, Endoscopic, and Pathologic Features of Intestinal Tuberculosis

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The aim of this study was to retrospectively analyze the clinical, endoscopic, and pathologic features of intestinal tuberculosis (TB).


The prevalence of intestinal TB has been increasing in China.


The clinical, imaging and laboratory examination, endoscopic, and pathologic data of 81 cases of intestinal TB patients were retrospectively analyzed.


There were 48 male and 33 female cases whose age ranged from 17 to 76 years (mean, 32.4±1.6 y). Fifty-five cases were diagnosed by endoscopic biopsy, and 26 cases by postoperative pathologic examination. The common symptoms were chronic right lower abdominal and periumbilical pain (87.7%), weight loss (80.2%), anemia (64.2%), diarrhea (46.9%), fever (43.2%), diarrhea alternating with constipation (38.3%), and night sweats (30.9%). Purified protein derivative test (51.9%), TB antibody (34.6%), and TB protein chip (40.7%) had lower sensitivity. T-spot test sensitivity was 86.4%. Endoscopic types included ulcerative (52.7%), ulcero-proliferative (27.3%), and proliferative (20.0%) with mucosal hyperemia and edema (87.2%), mucosal erosion (76.4%), patulous ileocecal valve (65.5%), polypoid hyperplasia (58.2%), annular ulcer (52.7%), nodular hyperplasia (45.5%), and luminal stenosis (29.1%). Histopathologic findings were chronic mucosal inflammation (87.3%), ulceration (74.5%), lymphocytic aggregation (69.1%), and granulomatous fusion (58.2%). The presence of caseating granulomas (74.5%) and necrosis (25.5%) was helpful, but not common.


The clinical symptoms of intestinal TB are nonspecific. The most common anatomic locations for intestinal TB are the ileocecal valve and cecum. The T-spot test has high sensitivity, and it can be used to support the diagnosis of intestinal TB. The typical endoscopic features are circumscribed intestinal ulcers, and histopathologic findings of biopsy specimens can be also useful in making the diagnosis.

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