Does pulmonary tuberculosis change with ageing?
Abstract:Setting: In most low prevalence countries, tuberculosis has become a disease of the aged; it has recently been suggested that the elderly may present a specific pattern.
Objective: To compare clinical, bacteriological and radiological features of pulmonary tuberculosis between young and elderly populations in a high incidence country.
Participants and methods: We retrospectively studied 337 consecutive pulmonary tuberculosis patients without confirmed HIV infection, hospitalised from 1989 to 1993. The clinical, bacteriological and radiological features of the two age groups considered, young adults (<60 years) and elderly (≥60 years), were compared.
Results: Thoracic pain (16.3% vs 32.7%) and fever (27.2% vs 50.6%) were significantly less frequent in the elderly, while the frequency and duration of other symptoms before hospitalisation were similar. After admission, fever remained longer in young patients (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found regarding the general health status at hospitalisation, or associated illnesses (83.7% vs 73.5%; P = 0.068). Radiological lesions not related to the present diagnosis (14.1% vs 2.0%; P < 0.05), and a presumed diagnosis of tuberculosis (11.7% vs 4.1%; P = 0.02) were more frequent in the elderly.
Conclusion: This study showed no specific clinical, bacteriological or radiological features between age groups, and does not support the hypothesis of any age-related patterns in pulmonary tuberculosis.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Publication date: April 1, 1997
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