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Surg Neurol. 1995 Oct;44(4):378-84; discussion 384-5.

Central nervous system tuberculosis: medical management and surgical indications.

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Division of Neurosurgery, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.



An increase in the incidence of tuberculosis in industrialized nations has prompted a need for earlier diagnosis, treatment, and isolation of disease. An associated rise in the number of patients with central nervous system tuberculosis (CNS TB) has forced neurosurgical services to reevaluate the indications for operative intervention.


Seventeen cases of CNS TB were found in a retrospective review of all cases managed on the neurosurgical service between 1989 and 1994. These cases included eight with tuberculous meningitis, seven cases of supratentorial tuberculomas, and two cases of infratentorial tuberculomas.


Major permanent neurologic morbidity was seen in one case (6%). Five patients (29.4%) died of complications associated with their primary disease. Eleven patients (64.6%) had excellent outcomes. All patients in the latter group completed an 18-month course of antituberculous therapy. Cerebrospinal fluid shunts were necessary in three cases and emergent craniotomy was performed in three cases. Only four cases had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection.


The neurosurgeon's role in the management of CNS TB has once again become more evident. In the present series it is unclear as to whether this is due to multiple drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis or HIV coinfection. It is clear, however, that vigilance over patient compliance and serial neurologic evaluation will determine the need for operative intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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