Cavitating pulmonary tuberculosis in children: Correlating radiology with pathogenesis

Griffith-Richards S.B. ; Goussard P. ; Andronikou S. ; Gie R.P. ; Przybojewski S.J. ; Strachan M. ; Vadachia Y. ; Kathan D.L. (2007)


Background: Cavitating pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) is generally known as a disease of adults, with children typically having features of primary PTB. Objective: To group children with PTB and cavities according to possible pathogenesis by evaluating the clinical and radiological findings. Materials and methods: The clinical and radiological findings in ten randomly selected children with PTB and cavitations on chest radiographs were retrospectively reviewed and evaluated. Results: Three groups emerged: group 1 (four children) had cavities, usually single and unilateral in the classic upper lobe distribution of postprimary PTB; group 2 (three children) developed progressive primary spread of disease with extensive and bilateral pulmonary cavities; and group 3 (three children) developed cavities secondary to airway obstruction by mediastinal lymph nodes with consequent distal collapse and consolidation. Children in group 1 responded well to treatment and had unremarkable recoveries. Children in group 2 were all below 2 years of age with complicated recoveries. Children in group 3 had frequent complications resulting in one fatality. Conclusion: Cavities in PTB inchildren may arise by one of three possible mechanisms with a relatively equal incidence. A study is underway to determine the incidence of cavity formation associated with mediastinal lymphadenopathy and airway obstruction. © Springer-Verlag 2007.

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