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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2003 Oct;7(10):942-7.

Clinical and radiological presentation of 340 adults with smear-positive tuberculosis in The Gambia.

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University of Minnesota, Department of Medicine, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.



Four clinics in The Gambia.


To document clinical and radiographic presentations of sputum smear-positive tuberculosis in adults.


Newly diagnosed acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear, culture-positive tuberculosis patients aged > or = 15 years were interviewed and examined, and underwent tuberculin skin testing, HIV testing and chest X-ray reviewed by a chest physician using set criteria.


Of 340 patients enrolled (median age 29 years; males 73%), 8.3% were HIV-positive. One-third reported haemoptysis, > 90% reported weight loss and fever, and wasting was the most common sign (69%). Crepitations were the most frequent auscultatory finding (41%). The most common radiological lesion was a patchy infiltrate (> 90%). Cavitation was present in 206 patients (60.6%), most frequently occurred in the upper lung fields, was associated with increasing bacterial load in the sputum, and was less prevalent in HIV-positive patients (45% vs. 62%; P = 0.07). Auscultatory and chest X-ray findings matched only one-third of the time.


In our setting, wasting is the most common clinical sign of sputum smear-positive tuberculosis. Auscultatory findings correlate poorly with radiological abnormalities. Cavitation is associated with increasing bacterial load in the sputum, and is therefore a strong indicator for early treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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