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Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2003 Sep-Oct;45(5):275-81.

Pulmonary tuberculosis: relationship between sputum bacilloscopy and radiological lesions.

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Faculdade de Ciências Médicas de Santa Casa de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.



To determine the frequency of radiological manifestations of chest tuberculosis among the tuberculosis outpatients at the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de São Paulo Hospital, and to correlate these radiological findings with the sputum bacilloscopy.


A review was made of the medical record cards and chest X-rays of all patients attended between January 1996 and December 1998. Patients with a diagnosis of tuberculosis who presented intrathoracic manifestations of the disease and negative anti-HIV serology were selected.


The selection included 153 patients, with an average age of 37.5 years, who were predominantly male (60.8%) and white (56.9%). Pulmonary lesions were present in 121 (79.9%) and extrapulmonary lesions in 32 (20.1%). Parenchymal-infiltrate lesions appeared in 56 patients (36.6%), cavity lesions in 55 (36.0%), pleural effusion in 28 (18.3%), isolated nodules in 6 (3.9%), mediastinal enlargement in 4 (2.6%) and miliary pattern in 4 (2.6%). Cavities were present in 45.5% of the patients with pulmonary lesions, generally in association with the parenchymal-infiltrate lesions. Parenchymal infiltrate was present in 86.8% of the patients with pulmonary lesions. There was significant presence of alcohol-acid resistant bacillus in the sputum of patients with cavities (76.4%), in comparison with those without cavities (50%) (p = 0.003).


Parenchymal-infiltrate lesions are the most frequent radiological manifestation of pulmonary tuberculosis, and they are generally associated with cavities. There is a relationship between the presence of acid fast bacilli in sputum and pulmonary cavity lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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