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Chong VH, Telisinghe PU, Yapp SKS, Chong CF
Correspondence: Dr Chong Vui Heng, email@example.com
Introduction Tuberculous appendix is surprisingly rare, even in countries where this infection is common. We report our experience with tuberculous appendix over a 15-year period.
Methods A search for cases of tuberculous appendix was conducted from January 1995 to December 2009 on the databases of the National Tuberculosis Centre and the Departments of Pathology and Surgery of Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital.
Results There were five cases of tuberculous appendix, giving a cumulative incidence of 0.08 percent of all appendectomies (n is 6,593), 0.2 percent of tuberculosis (TB) cases (n is 2,876) and 8.6 percent of abdominal TB (n is 58). Three patients were male and two were female, with a median age of 27 (range 25–48) years. Four patients presented with symptoms of acute appendicitis and one with an appendiceal mass following treatment for acute gastroenteritis. Only one patient had constitutional symptoms. Four patients had appendectomies (one laparoscopic and three open) within the same admission and one had interval appendectomy. Operative findings included perforated appendix (n is 1), appendiceal mass (n is 1) and acute appendicitis (n is 3). In all cases, the diagnoses were made only after review of the histology. None of the patients had pulmonary TB. Delay in initiating anti-TB treatment in one patient resulted in the development of an ileocutaneous fistula following appendectomy. This was resolved by excision, followed by anti-TB treatment.
Conclusion Tuberculous appendix can present as acute appendicitis, and the diagnosis is often made after surgery. Any delay in treatment can lead to significant complications.
Keywords: appendectomy, appendicitis, gastrointestinal tuberculosis, granuloma, tuberculosis
Singapore Med J 2011; 52(2): 90-93