Treatment of intestinal tuberculosis with small bowel perfor
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Diagnosis of intestinal tuberculosis poses a dilemma to physicians due to nonspecific symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and a change in bowel habit. In particular, the distinction between inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal tuberculosis remains challenging.

A 27-year-old man from Colombia presented with fever, night sweats, and progressive lower abdominal pain. Computed tomography revealed a thickening of the bowel wall with a mesenterial lymphadenopathy, ascites ,and a pleural tumor mass. Histology of intestinal and pleural biopsy specimens showed a granulomatous inflammation. Although microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) were negative, empirical MTB treatment was initiated on suspicion.

Due to a massive post-stenotic atrophied intestinal bowel, MTB medications were administered parenterally in the initial phase of treatment to guarantee adequate systemic resorption. The complicated and critical further course included an intra-abdominal abscess and bowel perforation requiring a split stoma, before the patient could be discharged in good condition after 3 months of in-hospital care.

This case highlights the clinical complexity and diagnostic challenges of intestinal MTB infection. A multidisciplinary team of physicians should be sensitized to a timely diagnosis of this disease, which often mimics inflammation similar to inflammatory bowel disease, other infections, or malignancies. In our case, radiological findings, histological results, and migratory background underpinned the suspected diagnosis and allowed early initiation of tuberculostatic treatment.