Pelvic and central nervous system tuberculosis complicated by a paradoxical response manifesting as a spinal tuberculoma: a case report.BMC Infect Dis. 2022 Sep 24; 22(1):750.BI
The post-partum period is a risk factor for tuberculosis (TB), possibly including the period after miscarriage as illustrated here. This case demonstrates how non-specific symptoms can hide widely disseminated TB.
A healthy 26-year-old female with a history of recent miscarriage presented to the emergency department with non-specific symptoms of headache, abdominal pain, and sub-acute fevers. She had immigrated to the United States from the Marshall Islands 9 years prior. Two months prior to presentation she had a miscarriage at 18 weeks of pregnancy. On admission, transvaginal ultrasound revealed retained products of conception and abdominal computed tomography revealed findings consistent with tubo-ovarian abscesses and peritonitis. The obstetrics and gynecology service performed dilation and curettage (D&C) to remove retained products of conception. Acid-fast bacilli cultures from cerebrospinal fluid as well as specimens from D&C and intra-abdominal abscesses subsequently all grew TB. She was diagnosed with TB meningitis, peritonitis, endometritis, and tubo-ovarian abscesses. Her treatment course was complicated by a paradoxical response resulting in a spinal tuberculoma causing lower extremity weakness. The tuberculoma was treated with surgical decompression as well as continuation of treatment with anti-tubercular chemotherapy and steroids.
Disseminated and extrapulmonary TB can present with non-specific symptoms. Recognition of risk factors for TB is critical for prompt diagnostic evaluation and treatment of this deadly disease. A paradoxical reaction needs to be taken into consideration when any new neurological symptoms occur during TB treatment.