Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), affecting about 1/3rd of the world population and being responsible for lot of deaths worldwide, despite the progress achieved in the diagnosis and treatment fields. TB can affect the peritoneum, the TB ascites being a concern for physicians, especially when dealing with immunocompromised patients. The clinical presentation of TB ascites is challenging, due to nonspecific symptoms that make confusion with other diseases and the late results of cultures from ascites. The late diagnosis leads to a delayed treatment and high mortality. This manuscript describes recent tools used for early diagnosis in TB ascites. Molecular methods based on mycobacterial nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detecting minimal amounts of bacterial DNA, or interferongamma release assays (IGRA) and biochemical methods such as the serum-ascites albumin gradient (SAAG) <1.1 g/dL, ratio between lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) in ascites fluid/serum total protein (TP) ratio of 0.5 and fluid ascites/serum LDH ratio of 0.6, and adenosine deaminase activity (ADA) > 40 UI/ml were recently considered more accurate diagnostic procedures. These methods allow a rapid and accurate differential diagnosis of ascites fluid, making possible the early treatment with appropriate drugs.
Part of the book: Ascites