, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 409–414 | Cite as

Extrapulmonary mycobacterial infections in a cohort of HIV-positive patients: ultrasound experience from Vicenza, Italy

  • Maria Teresa Giordani
  • Enrico Brunetti
  • Raffaella Binazzi
  • Paolo Benedetti
  • Clara Stecca
  • Sam Goblirsch
  • Tom Heller
Clinical and Epidemiological Study



Extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) is frequently seen in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa and recent work has shown point-of-care (POC) ultrasound to be a diagnostic aid in the resource-limited, highly endemic setting. Its role in industrialized countries, however, has rarely been studied. With international migration, EPTB is increasingly seen in European hospitals. This study reports ultrasound findings and discusses the diagnostic relevance of EPTB in an industrialized country setting.


In this retrospective study, we describe a cohort of 27 patients with a predominantly immigrant background diagnosed with HIV and EPTB in Northern Italy and evaluate the role of ultrasound in their clinical management. All inpatient files of HIV-positive individuals admitted to our hospital with culture-proven diagnosis of EPTB were reviewed, along with chest X-rays and ultrasound studies. The outcome and results of long-term follow-up were extracted.


A total of 243 HIV-positive inpatients were identified between January 2005 and November 2011. Twenty-seven of the patients [11.1 %, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 7.4–15.7] were diagnosed with EPTB. Ultrasound showed a typical pattern of enlarged abdominal lymph nodes and focal lesions in the spleen and liver in 22 patients (81.5 %, 95 % CI 7.4–15.7) and, thus, helped to raise the suspicion of mycobacterial infection.


As disseminated mycobacterial infections in HIV-positive patients can be treated effectively if diagnosed early, and typical sonographic findings are seen in the majority of these patients, we suggest that POC ultrasound should be integrated in diagnostic and screening algorithms for EPTB in developed countries.


Extrapulmonary tuberculosis HIV Ultrasound Diagnosis Outcome African immigrant 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Teresa Giordani
    • 1
  • Enrico Brunetti
    • 2
  • Raffaella Binazzi
    • 3
  • Paolo Benedetti
    • 1
  • Clara Stecca
    • 1
  • Sam Goblirsch
    • 4
  • Tom Heller
    • 5
  1. 1.Infectious and Tropical Diseases UnitSan Bortolo HospitalVicenzaItaly
  2. 2.Division of Infectious and Tropical DiseasesUniversity of Pavia, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital FoundationPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Infectious Diseases DepartmentBozen HospitalBozenItaly
  4. 4.Department of Medicine—PediatricsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Internal MedicineKlinikum München PerlachMunichGermany

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