How is tuberculosis peritonitis (TP) diagnosed?

Updated: Jul 23, 2019
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Tuberculous peritonitis (TP) is identified by ascites with high protein content, a low glucose and low SAAG, elevated ascitic fluid WBC count, and lymphocyte predominance. In TP, the fluid Gram stain and acid-fast stain results are rarely positive, and routine culture results are falsely negative in as many as 80% of cases. A peritoneal fluid protein level greater than 2.5 g/dL, LDH level greater than 90 U/mL, and predominantly mononuclear cell count of more than 500 cells/µL should raise the suspicion of TP, but specificity for the diagnosis is limited. Laparoscopy with visualization of granulomas on peritoneal biopsy and specific culture (which requires 4-6 wk) may be needed for definitive diagnosis.

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