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J Assoc Physicians India. 2001 Aug;49:788, 790-4.

Significance of haematological manifestations in patients with tuberculosis.

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Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.



Tuberculosis is a major public health problem in India. Haematological changes associated with tuberculosis have been incompletely investigated. To the best of our knowledge, there is no comprehensive study assessing the haematological abnormalities in these patients from the Indian subcontinent. In the present study, we have compared peripheral blood and bone marrow findings in patients with disseminated/miliary tuberculosis (DTB/MTB) as well as pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). An attempt has also been made to assess the effect of antituberculosis therapy on the haematologic abnormalities.


Thirty two patients with disseminated/miliary tuberculosis and 23 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis were prospectively studied to determine the various haematological manifestations in tuberculosis and the effect of antituberculosis therapy. All patients received standard antituberculosis treatment. They were subjected to a detailed haemogram including peripheral blood examination, which was repeated on completion of antituberculosis therapy. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy was also done in all patients before starting antituberculosis treatment.


Normocytic normochromic anaemia was the most common abnormality observed in all the groups and subgroups (DTB/MTB 84%, PTB 86%). Other haematological abnormalities of the white blood cells include leucopenia (DTB/MTB 25%, PTB 0%; p < 0.02), neutropenia (DTB/MTB 22%, PTB 0%; p < 0.04), lymphocytopenia, monocytopenia, leukocytosis, neutrophilia, lymphocytosis and monocytosis. Pancytopenia was observed only in patients with disseminated/miliary tuberculosis (p < 0.05). Thrombocytopenia was more common in patients with disseminated/miliary tuberculosis (p < 0.007), whereas thrombocytosis was more common in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (p < 0.04). The patients of disseminated/miliary tuberculosis with granulomas in the bone marrow had certain significant differences as compared to patients without granulomas. These patients showed severe anaemia, peripheral monocytopenia and bone marrow histiomonocytosis. The haemogram reverted to normal with antituberculosis therapy in these patients.


In view of the varied haematological abnormalities observed in patients with tuberculosis in this part of the world, it is concluded that the differential diagnosis of tuberculosis should be entertained in patients with varied haematological disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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