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Tuberculosis

Fibrotic scar

07/06/2011

Question:

What is fibrotic scar?

Answer:

When a person has active tuberculosis (TB) disease of the lung, the TB disease can damage parts of the lung. When these areas heal, scarring or fibrosis can develop. Fibrotic scar on chest X-ray (CXR) may suggest old TB disease but are not diagnostic. If a person has not received treatment for TB in the past, these fibrotic areas may contain Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB disease. Other infections or non-infections can also cause fibrotic scaring of the lung.

If a person has been diagnosed with latent TB infection either by a positive tuberculin skin test or a positive interferon gamma release assay (new blood test), and the CXR shows fibrotic scar and he has never been treated for active TB disease or latent TB infection, then he will need to be evaluated for TB. If there is no evidence of active TB disease, he should be treated for latent TB infection.

If a person signs or symptoms of active TB disease and a CXR showing fibrotic scaring, the doctor may want to do additional medical evaluation to make sure he does not have active tuberculosis disease.

If a person has completed TB treatment in the past and the CXR show fibrotic scaring, the doctor can compare the new CXR to the old CXR to make sure there is no change.

For more information:

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Response by:

Shu-Hua   Wang, MD, MPH&TM Shu-Hua Wang, MD, MPH&TM
Clinical Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases
Clinical Assistant Professor of The Division of Epidemiology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Larry S Schlesinger, MD Larry S Schlesinger, MD
Professor:
Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics
Microbiology Administration
Environmental Health Sciences
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University