Isolated sigmoid tuberculosis - Report of a case

Karen D. Horvath, Richard L. Whelan, Samuel Weinstein, Adam L. Basner, Susan M. Staugaitis, Ellen Greenebaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To heighten awareness of colonic tuberculosis (TB) as a once rare disease that is undergoing a resurgence in the United States. METHODS: Report of a case of isolated sigmoid tuberculosis with a brief literature review of the topic. RESULTS: TB can no longer be considered a rare disease in the United States because, in part, of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome epidemic and because, in part, of increased immigration and lack of containment. The signs and symptoms of colonic TB are nonspecific; therefore, a high index of suspicion must be maintained. Only 20 percent of patients will have associated active pulmonary TB. Colonoscopy with multiple biopsies at ulcer margins should be performed for diagnosis. Tissue should be sent for routine histology and culture and smeared for direct visualization of acid-fast bacilli. If colonic TB is suspected, empiric treatment is warranted, despite negative histology, smear, and culture results. Patients will usually show a dramatic response in one to two weeks. Treatment is solely medical, and all patients should receive a full course of antituberculous chemotherapy. Exploratory laparotomy is necessary if diagnosis is in doubt, when there is concern about a neoplasm, or for complications including perforation, obstruction, hemorrhage, or fistulization. CONCLUSION: An increased awareness of intestinal TB coupled with familiarity of the pathophysiology, diagnostic methods, and treatment should increase the number of cases correctly diagnosed preoperatively and, therefore, improve the outcome of patients with this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1330
Number of pages4
JournalDiseases of the Colon & Rectum
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonic tuberculosis
  • Intestinal tuberculosis
  • Sigmoid tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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