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Free Content Radiological manifestations of pulmonary tuberculosis in patients subjected to anti-TNF-α treatment

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SETTING: The risk of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) may increase with increased use of anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) treatment in inflammatory arthritis.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of anti-TNF treatment on radiological manifestations of PTB.

METHOD: Between January 2007 and December 2012, the chest radiographs (CXRs) of 23 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed PTB who underwent anti-TNF treatment were studied. Chest computed tomography (CT) images were available for 14. To compare the radiological features of PTB, the CXRs of 46 immunocompetent PTB patients with similar demographics were studied as controls, of whom 34 underwent chest CT. Two radiologists and one chest physician reviewed the chest images independently.

RESULTS: Compared with the controls, fibronodular lesions were less common on CXR in the anti-TNF group (P < 0.001). In contrast, lymphadenopathy (P < 0.001), pleural effusion (P = 0.015) and pericardial effusion (P = 0.02) were more common, while tree-in-bud appearance (P = 0.017) was less commonly depicted on chest CT in the anti-TNF group. Although there was no significant difference in zonal predilection and laterality of the lesions between the two groups, diffuse lesions (P = 0.004) on chest CT scans were more frequent in the anti-TNF group.

CONCLUSION: Unusual presentations of PTB were more common in the CXRs and/or CT scans of patients who underwent anti-TNF treatment.
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Keywords: chest radiograph; computed tomography; inflammatory joint disease; lower lung field tuberculosis; tumour necrosis factor

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Radiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Department of Radiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan 3: Department of Chest Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; Institute of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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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