Tuberculosis is caused by
- diagnostic imaging
Tuberculosis is caused by
Intraventricular involvement by tuberculosis is very rare. We present a case of intraventricular tuberculous abscess in an immunocompromised patient and its imaging findings.
A 17-year-old immunocompromised patient presented with fever, vomiting, and headache. She had medical history of B thalassemia with splenectomy at age 7 years, and taking lifelong prophylactic amoxicillin 500 mg twice a day. On admission she was febrile with temperature of 38.8 °C. Her vital signs were stable. There was hyperreflexia of both upper and lower limbs with positive Kernig sign. There was no motor or sensory deficit of either upper or lower limbs. In view of the clinical presentation of meningitis, she received intravenous antibiotics consisting of cefoperazone (Cefobid 2 g intravenously 4 times a day) and vancomycin (1 g intravenously 3 times a day) empirically.
Laboratory blood test results showed low hemoglobin of 7.3 g/dL with leukocytosis (48.4 mmol/L) of predominant neutrophils (75%). The C-reactive protein was raised (12.25 mg/dL). The cerebrospinal fluid analysis showed turbid fluid with increased protein level (3520 mg/L) and low glucose level (1.9 mmol/L, compared with a standard blood glucose level of 7.5 mmol/L). Acid-fast bacilli (AFB) staining of cerebrospinal fluid was negative.
Contrast enhanced computed tomography of the brain revealed a cystic lesion, measuring 2.3 cm at the atrium of right lateral ventricle with minimal, thin, and incomplete rim enhancement and obstructive hydrocephalus. There is central nonenhancement of the lesion (
External ventricular drainage was performed, and pus drained intraoperatively. The AFB test was negative. However, the PCR analysis and culture results were positive for
Despite advancement in medicine, tuberculosis remains a significant infectious disease with approximately 10.4 million new cases and 1.8 million in mortality worldwide in 2016, especially in developing countries [2, 3]. The risk of tuberculosis infection is directly related to exposure to
Tuberculous infection of the central nervous system may mimic other inflammatory or neoplastic conditions. The clinical symptoms vary according to the location of infection. A patient with neurological tuberculosis commonly presents with headache, vomiting, convulsions, focal neurological deficit, or visual disturbance. Fever is present only in <10%–20% of presentations . Another conundrum in neurological tuberculosis is that from the clinical diagnosis, cerebrospinal fluid investigation is often normal, and surgical biopsy is an invasive procedure. Clinicians are usually faced with a dilemma in diagnosing intracranial tuberculous infection promptly and confidently. MRI with gadolinium contrast application is a method of choice for initial investigation.
Tuberculomas of the brain are characterized by typical granulomatous reaction consisting of epithelioid cells and giant cells mixed with predominantly lymphocytes . The tuberculomas can be noncaseating, caseating with solid center, or caseating with a liquid center. By contrast, tuber-culous abscess is characterized by an encapsulated collection of pus containing viable bacilli, and the inflammatory reaction in the abscess wall is predominantly vascular granulation tissue containing acute and chronic inflammatory cells . The central multinucleate giant cells surrounded by epithelioid granulomatous reactions that characterize tuberculomas are absent in tuberculous abscess. Any liquefaction within a tuberculoma contains clear or straw-colored fluid, as distinct from pus, which is seen in the tuberculous abscess . The diagnosis of a true tuberculous abscess is usually made using Whitener's criteria, which include macroscopic evidence of cavity formation with central pus, inflammatory reaction in an abscess wall composed primarily of vascular granulation tissue, and proof of tuberculous origin by either culture or acid-fast stain in the pus or abscess wall . The origin of an intraventricular tuberculosis abscess is not clear. The hematogenous spread of infection through the choroid plexus or subependymal region with subsequent spread into the ventricles has been proposed . Once the mycobacterial tuber-cle evokes secondary reaction, it leads to formation of a thick capsule, which may result in a central caseation, liquefaction, and abscess formation. Intracranial tuberculosis abscess formation is more commonly seen in immunocompromised patients as in our case, owing to splenectomy.
The identification of an intracranial lesion can be established by cross-sectional imaging. Although not specific, both computed tomography and MRI are sensitive for detecting tuberculoma or tuberculous abscess. MRI offers higher sensitivity and specificity than computed tomography. On MRI, intracranial caseating solid tuberculoma usually demonstrates central low or isointense signals on T2W images, whereas the noncaseating tuberculoma, liquefied caseating tuberculoma and tuberculous abscess normally reveal T2W central hyper-intensity . The liquefied caseating tuberculoma and tuber-culous abscess often demonstrate hypointense rim on T2W and rim enhancement on postcontrast T1W scans [8, 9, 10]. This appearance is like that for a pyogenic abscess . Additionally, the liquefied tuberculoma or tuberculous abscess often shows restricted diffusion on diffusion-weighted imaging, again like a pyogenic abscess  Expectedly, the intraventricular tuberculous abscess as in our case showed hypointensity on T1W, hyperintensity on T2W and rim enhancement. The center of the abscess demonstrated mild restriction diffusion in diffusion-weighted imaging. A previous case report describes a nonenhancing lesion, which was hyperintense on T1W, causing obstructive hydrocephalus . The patient reported in this case underwent ventriculostomy and recovered well with no neurological deficit 6 months after surgery . An intraventricular lesion in a pediatric patient, which was initially diagnosed as a possible brain tumor from the clinical and radiological findings, was revealed as a tuberculoma on surgical excision .
Tuberculosis of the central nervous system poses challenges for both diagnosis and management aspects. Intraventricular tuberculous abscess is a rare manifestation of intracranial tuberculous infection. The appearance of intraventricular tuberculous abscess on conventional MRI is like that for other intraparenchymal tuberculous or pyogenic abscesses. Understanding the typical and atypical intracranial manifestation of neurotuberculosis is imperative to arrive at the diagnosis correctly and ensure prompt treatment given.