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Free Content Extra-pulmonary and pulmonary tuberculosis in Hong Kong

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OBJECTIVE: To compare the characteristics of patients with pulmonary and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis and to describe the organ involvement, diagnosis and treatment of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: All patients with a diagnosis of tuberculosis treated by the Hong Kong Government Tuberculosis and Chest Service (Chest Service) in 1996 were studied.

RESULTS: Of the 5757 patients treated, 13.7% had extra-pulmonary tuberculosis alone and 8.6% had both extra-pulmonary tuberculosis and pulmonary tuberculosis. Extra-pulmonary tuberculosis was more common in women under 30 and over 75 years of age. Only six patients had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, of whom two had extra-pulmonary tuberculosis. The most common site of extra-pulmonary involvement was the pleura, followed by the lymph nodes. Miliary tuberculosis occurred in only 2.9%. Lymph node involvement occurred significantly higher in women, while pleural disease was significantly higher in men. The duration of treatment varied according to the site of disease, being shorter (6 months) for those with pleural disease only and >9 months for those with miliary, meningeal, gastrointestinal and genitourinary disease; 80.3% completed treatment at 12 months and 85.5% at 24 months. Of those who completed treatment, 1.4% had a relapse of disease at 24 months follow-up; there was no significant difference between those with pulmonary or extra-pulmonary disease.

CONCLUSION: In Hong Kong, extra-pulmonary tuberculosis is common, affecting 22.3% of TB patients, and is unrelated to HIV infection. There are sex differences in the organs most commonly affected. The rate of relapse of disease is low for those who completed treatment, irrespective of the site of involvement.

Keywords: characteristics; diagnosis; extra-pulmonary tuberculosis; organ involvement; treatment

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: The University of Hong Hong, Medicine, Hong Kong, SAR, China 2: The Hong Kong Government Tuberculosis and Chest Service, Health, Hong Kong, SAR, China

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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