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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2018 May 1;53(5):967-972. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezx447.

Treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis: past and present.

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Department of Phthisiopulmonology and Thoracic Surgery, I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia.



Surgical interventional has been key in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) for a long time. Its importance diminished after the emergence of chemotherapy. However, the spread of rapid multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB has led us to return to surgery to treat TB. Today, every second patient in Russia with destructive TB has either MDR or XDR TB, which is the reason for the low efficacy of conservative treatment. In 2015, treatment with drugs resulted in clinical recovery in only 29.8% of new cases of destructive TB acid-fast bacilli (AFB)+.


The author's data from 1999 to 2016 have been analysed. The author performed 5599 surgeries on patients with pulmonary TB aged from 1 to 87 years (mean age 34.6 years). The most common reasons for surgical treatment were fibrotic cavitary and cavitary pulmonary TB, tuberculoma with destruction, tuberculous pleural empyema, caseous pneumonia and intrathoracic lymph nodes. The strategy of early collapse therapy and the use of surgery to treat TB was proposed in the Penza region of Russia; the results were analysed to estimate the long-term outcomes of treatment.


In 5599 surgeries, the full clinical effect was achieved in 93% of operated patients with MDR TB, in 92.1% of those with XDR TB and in 98% of patients without MDR or XDR resistance. According to the data from the Penza region, 3 years after surgery, 93.9% (149 of 159 cases) of the operated patients exhibited clinical recovery.


Taking into account the data from the World Health Organization on the insufficient level of therapeutic success in the treatment of MDR and XDR pulmonary TB, surgical treatment is necessary in regions with a high frequency of drug-resistant cases.


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