Clinical Spectrum of Paradoxical Deterioration During Antituberculosis Therapy in Non-HIV-Infected Patients
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Paradoxical deterioration during antituberculosis therapy, defined as the clinical or radiological worsening of pre-existing tuberculous lesions or the development of new lesions in a patient who initially improves, remains a diagnostic dilemma. Although different clinical presentations of paradoxical response have been described, a systematic analysis of the entity in non-HIV-infected patients is lacking. Reported here are two cases of paradoxical deterioration in which sequential changes in lymphocyte counts and tuberculin skin test results are emphasized. In addition, 120 episodes of paradoxical response after antituberculosis treatment were reviewed. Of the total 122 episodes, 101 (82.8%) were associated with extrapulmonary tuberculosis. The median time from commencement of treatment to paradoxical deterioration was 60 days. The median time to onset of central nervous system manifestations (63 days) was longer than the time to onset of manifestations at other sites (56 days) (P=0.02). Development of new lesions in anatomical sites other than those observed at initial presentation was observed in 31 (25.4%) episodes. A surge in the lymphocyte count, accompanied by an exaggerated tuberculin skin reaction, was observed in our patients during the paradoxical deterioration, analogous to the findings in HIV-positive patients. Treatment of the paradoxical response included surgical intervention (60.7%) and administration of steroids (39.3%). The use of steroids appeared to be safe in this series, as 95% of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates were susceptible to first-line antituberculosis therapy.
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