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We report 36 cases of spinal tuberculosis who were evaluated at the Internal Medicine Department of Istanbul University between January 1990 and March 2016. Twelve cases were accompanied by active pulmonary tuberculosis while ten patients had a previous history of tuberculosis. Eight patients had diabetes mellitus; six patients were on chronic steroid treatment with a mean dose of 24 mg-day while two patients used azathioprine and methotrexate. The dominant symptom was back pain that was present in 64% of the subjects followed by low grade fever 42%, and malaise 38%. Lytic and destructive lesions were noted in various vertebrae in all of the cases while four patients had spinal compression, and two patients had iliopsoas abscess. The preliminary diagnosis was myeloproliferative disease with vertebral metastasis in eight patients. Tuberculin test was over 15 mm in 20 patients 58.8% while ERS and Creactive protein were highly elevated in 78%, and 84% of the patients. Diagnosis of tuberculosis was confirmed by culture of aspirated material from intervertebral disc space, collection under CT guidance, sputum or bronchial lavage, and by retrospective anti-tuberculous treatment response. MRI revealed compatible findings with spinal tuberculosis in 30 80% patients. In endemic countries, tuberculous spondilitis should be considered in immunosuppressed patients with back pain. Current or past tuberculosis infection is not a reliable indicator for Pott’s disease in these patients. Laboratory findings were not usually useful to support the diagnosis. The low sensitivity of the tuberculin test may lead to an erronous diagnosis. Sensitivity of vertebral radiography and CT was low. MRI was the most useful radiologic investigation for the diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis. Tuberculosis of the spine is a diagnostic impasse notably in immunodeficient patients for the clinician.


Tuberculosis, Spinal, Vertebrae, M. Tuberculosis, Pott’s Disease

Cite this paper

Yanardag, H. , Tetikkurt, C. , Bilir, M. , Demirci, S. , Canbaz, B. and Ozyazar, M. 2016 Tuberculous Spondylitis: Clinical Features of 36 Patients. Case Reports in Clinical Medicine, 5, 411-417. doi: 10.4236-crcm.2016.510057.

Autor: Halil Yanardag1, Cuneyt Tetikkurt2*, Muammer Bilir1, Sabriye Demirci1, Bulent Canbaz3, Mucahit Ozyazar1



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