Tuberculous pleuritis: The value of medical thoracoscopy for diagnostics [Der tuberkulöse Pleuraerguss: Stellenwert der internistischen Thorakoskopie in der Diagnostik]
Approximately one third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and among communicable diseases tuberculosis is the second leading cause of death. The most common type of tuberculosis is pulmonary tuberculosis. Among the extrapulmonary manifestations, tuberculous pleuritis ranks second only after lymphatic tuberculosis. Tuberculous pleuritis is most commonly a disease with acute onset which is self-limiting in the majority of cases. A large proportion of patients though develop some form of active tuberculosis after a latency period. Therefore the correct diagnosis and the initiation of treatment are of the utmost importance. The easiest way to establish the diagnosis of tuberculous pleuritis is to demonstrate an elevated ADA (adenosine deaminase) in a lymphocytic effusion. Should pleural fluid analysis be nondiagnostic, the diagnosis of tuberculous pleuritis can be established with percutaneous closed needle biopsy in over 80% of cases. All patients with an undiagnosed pleural effusion after closed needle biopsy require thoracoscopy with selected biopsies taken under direct vision. The diagnostic yield of thoracoscopy is close to 100% in tuberculous pleuritis. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.