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Tuber Lung Dis. 1996 Aug;77(4):329-34.

Spinal tuberculosis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection: clinical presentation, therapy and outcome.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, New York University Medical Center, NY, USA.



Bellevue Hospital, a large public hospital in New York City.


To discern the clinical characteristics of spinal tuberculosis (Pott's disease) in patients with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


Review of all cases of spinal tuberculosis seen at the hospital from 1988 to 1995, with comparison of HIV-positive and HIV-negative cases. Chart reviews for all cases were performed and information regarding signs and symptoms, neurological findings, laboratory and radiographic data, medical and surgical treatment and eventual outcome were recorded.


We collected 26 cases of tuberculosis of the spine between July 1988 and June 1995. Seven of our 26 patients (27%) were HIV seropositive. Six of these were PPD+ on presentation. When compared with HIV-negative patients, those with HIV and spinal tuberculosis had similar clinical presentations; most patients had a diagnosis made with percutaneous needle aspiration biopsy of clinically involved areas, and open procedures added little diagnostic information. Most were treated without surgery, and response to antituberculosis therapy was uniformly good.


We conclude that clinical presentations of spinal tuberculosis are similar in HIV-positive and -negative patients, and good outcomes can be expected with regard to mycobacterial disease.

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