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Free Content Chronic inactive pulmonary tuberculosis and treatment sequelae: chest radiographic features [Perspective]

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The chest radiograph (CXR) is a key initial tool in the diagnosis of many lung conditions, including pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). With proper use of anti-tuberculosis drugs, TB can be treated effectively and many CXR changes are limited. However, anti-tuberculosis drugs have not always been available, and in some cases they have not been started early in the disease process. The infection has then been able to take hold and cause significant radiologically visible damage, such as calcification and fibrosis. Before the use of anti-tuberculosis drugs, a variety of surgical techniques were employed to control pulmonary infection, including plombage, oleothorax, phrenic nerve crush and thoracoplasty. Each of these led to distinctive CXR features. This article sets out to describe the CXR features of chronic disease and surgical treatments, as their increasing rarity with the passage of time has meant that they can be misinterpreted. However, with increasing life expectancy and the revival of surgery due to the development of anti-tuberculosis drug resistance, the correct interpretation of these CXR changes is still of importance.

Keywords: Ghon focus; oleothorax; plombage; thoracic surgery

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, Kings College London, London, UK 2: Department of Radiology, Eastbourne District General Hospital, Eastbourne, UK 3: Department of Respiratory Medicine, Eastbourne District General Hospital, Eastbourne, UK

Publication date: 2014-02-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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