Author(s): GonzlezGay MA, GarcaPorra C, Cereijo MJ, Rivas MJ, Ibaez D,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To examine the frequency and clinical manifestations of osteoarticular tuberculosis in non-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients during the past 10 years in a northwestern area of Spain. METHODS: The charts of all patients older than 14 years of age, not HIV-infected, and diagnosed as having osteoarticular tuberculosis at the Xeral-Calde Hospital from 1988 through 1997 were reviewed. All patients were residents of the region of Lugo. The diagnosis of osteoarticular tuberculosis was made on the basis of a positive culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis from synovial fluid, joint tissue or paravertebral abscess or by histological findings of caseating granulomas in biopsied tissue. RESULTS: Thirty-two HIV-negative patients (20 men and 12 women) were diagnosed with osteoarticular tuberculosis. The average annual incidence rate of osteoarticular tuberculosis in the combined (male and female) non-HIV population > or = 15 years of age was 15.68/million (95\% CI: 10.25; 21.11); males 20.02/million (95\% CI: 11.25; 28.79); females 11.52/million (95\% CI: 5.00; 18.03). The age at the time of diagnosis was 60.8 +/- 17.5 years. Peripheral monoarthritis was observed in 16 of the 32 cases. The knee was the most frequent site of peripheral tuberculous arthritis (31\%), but involvement of the non-weight-bearing joints (50\%) was also common. Spondylitis involving the lower thoracic and upper lumbar vertebrae (31\%) and unilateral sacroiliitis (19\%) were less commonly observed. In general, patients with osteoarticular tuberculosis had a long duration of symptoms of the disease prior to the diagnosis (median: 5.5 months). The tuberculin skin test was negative in 3 cases. Chest radiograph was abnormal in only 6 of 32 patients (19\%). The ESR (mean +/- SD) at the time of diagnosis was 55.7 +/- 29.0 mm/hr. Computed tomography was very useful in detecting early involvement of the sacroiliac joints and in defining the extent of the abscesses and the severity of the involvement in patients with spondylitis. All patients received chemotherapy for tuberculosis. None of them suffered relapses of tuberculosis. CONCLUSION: Tuberculosis is a major source of osteoarticular complications in northwestern Spain. The prevailing low level of clinical suspicion may explain the long delay to the diagnosis in most patients. A greater awareness of the possibility of this severe complication, especially in the elderly people or in high-risk populations, would be advisable.
This article was published in Clin Exp Rheumatol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy