How to detect tuberculosis on X-ray

Disease science

How to Detect Tuberculosis on X-ray

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Introduction

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs. It can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, bones, and brain. TB is a serious infection that can be fatal if it is not treated.

Chest X-rays are an important tool for diagnosing TB. They can show the presence of TB lesions in the lungs. TB lesions are areas of inflammation and scarring that are caused by the TB bacteria.

How to Read a Chest X-ray for TB

When reading a chest X-ray for TB, the radiologist will look for the following signs:

Infiltrates: Infiltrates are areas of increased density on the X-ray. They can be caused by TB lesions, pneumonia, or other lung infections.

Cavities: Cavities are holes in the lungs. They can be caused by TB lesions or other lung diseases.

Nodules: Nodules are small, round shadows on the X-ray. They can be caused by TB lesions, sarcoidosis, or other lung diseases.

Pleural effusion: Pleural effusion is a collection of fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall. It can be caused by TB, pneumonia, or other lung diseases.

Differential Diagnosis

The radiologist will also need to consider other possible causes of the X-ray findings. These include:

Pneumonia: Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It can cause infiltrates, cavities, and pleural effusion on chest X-ray.

Sarcoidosis: Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes inflammation in the lungs and other organs. It can cause nodules and infiltrates on chest X-ray.

Lung cancer: Lung cancer can cause a variety of findings on chest X-ray, including infiltrates, cavities, and nodules.

Sensitivity and Specificity

Chest X-rays are not always able to detect TB. The sensitivity of chest X-ray for TB is about 70%. This means that about 30% of people with TB will have a normal chest X-ray.

The specificity of chest X-ray for TB is about 90%. This means that about 10% of people with a positive chest X-ray for TB will not actually have TB.

Conclusion

Chest X-rays are an important tool for diagnosing TB. However, they are not always able to detect TB. The radiologist will need to consider other possible causes of the X-ray findings before making a diagnosis.

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