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Tuberculosis

Small Infiltration on Lung

05/20/2009

Question:

My doctor gave me a chest x-ray and they think I have tuberculosis. I`ve taken the pcp under the skin. I don`t know the diagnosis yet, but they saw a small infitration on the lung. Now they want me to take a ct scan. If I do have TB why do they want me to take a ct scan? I`m scared now. You don`t need to take a ct scan for tuberculosis, right? What`s going on? What are they not telling me?

Answer:

In order to diagnose pulmonary TB, you will likely be asked to cough up sputum specimens for AFB smear and cultures, as well as undergo radiographic studies, and perhaps other blood tests and/or more invasive procedures such as a bronchoscopy. Talk with your doctor about why the CT scan was ordered. Sometimes the test results are inconclusive to diagnose TB immediately, so if no other diagnosis is made, your doctor may ask you to start taking anti-tuberculous medications while the AFB cultures of your respiratory specimens are incubating.

Because TB is an airborne contagious disease, for public health reasons, it makes sense to recommend that someone who probably has TB should start taking TB medications before there is proof that they have TB. Again, be sure to talk with your doctor and ask all the questions that you are worried about, because your doctor knows the specifics of your case and can give you the best answers.

For more information:

Go to the Tuberculosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Lisa A Haglund, MD Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati