BMC infectious diseases 2017 05 1817(1) 351 doi 10.1186/s12879-017-2433-6
High proportion of TB in people living with HIV (PLHIV) is undiagnosed. Due to this active TB case finding is recommended for HIV clinics in high TB burden countries. Presently sputum examination and chest radiography are frontline tests recommended for HIV infected TB presumptives. Abdominal TB which occurs frequently in PLHIV may be missed even by existing programmatic intensified case finding protocols. This study evaluated the routine use of ultrasonography (USG) for active case finding of abdominal TB in HIV clinics.
Retrospective analysis of eight years’ data from an HIV Clinic in a TB hospital in India. Patients underwent chest x-ray, sputum examination, USG abdomen and routine blood tests at entry to HIV care. Case forms were scrutinized for diagnosis of TB, USG findings and CD4 cell counts. Abdominal TB was classified as probable or possible TB. Probable TB was based on presence of two major USG (abdomen) findings suggestive of active TB, or one major USG finding with at least two minor USG findings or at least two symptoms, or any USG finding with microbiologically confirmed active TB at another site. Possible TB was based on the presence of one major USG finding, or the presence of two minor USG findings with at least two symptoms. Bacteriological confirmation was not obtained.
Eight hundred and eighty-nine people PLHIV underwent a baseline USG abdomen. One hundred and thirteen of 340 cases already diagnosed with TB and 87 of the 91 newly diagnosed with TB at time of HIV clinic registration had abdominal TB. Non-abdominal symptoms like weight loss, fever and cough were seen in 53% and 22% cases had no symptoms at all. Enlarged abdominal lymph nodes with central caseation, ascitis, splenic microabsesses, bowel thickening and hepatosplenomegaly were the USG findings in these cases.
Abdominal TB is a frequent TB site in PLHIV presenting with non-abdominal symptoms. It can be easily detected on basis of features seen on a simple abdominal ultrasound. Abdominal USG should be essential part of intensified TB case finding algorithms for HIV infected people living in high TB burden settings.