Features and Outcome of Hepatobiliary Tuberculosis among Filipino Children: Report of a Six-year Experience

  • Evangeline P. Capul
  • Germana Emerita V. Gregorio
  • Ma. Liza Antoinette M. Gonzales
Keywords: hepatobiliary TB, hepatic granuloma, hepatic calcification, AFB smear, TB PCR


Background. The features and outcome of hepatobiliary tuberculosis (HBTB) have not been extensively reported
in children.

Objective. To describe the clinical, biochemical, radiologic, microbiologic and histologic features and outcome of
children diagnosed with HBTB.

Methods. Data of HBTB patients aged 0-18 years were collected by review of medical records and as they were
admitted. Cases were classified as bacteriologically-confirmed (positive AFB smear, TB culture or PCR of bile/liver
tissue) or clinically-diagnosed (clinical, histologic and/or radiologic evidence).

Results. A total of 36 patients were included (mean age: 13yrs; 64% males): three bacteriologically-confirmed and
33 clinically-diagnosed. Most common signs/symptoms were weight loss (69%), fever (67%), hepatomegaly (61%)
and jaundice (53%). Of the total, 68% had hypoalbuminemia, 50% increased transaminases and 47% prolonged
prothrombin time. Fifteen (42%) patients were AFB positive on various microbiologic specimens. Most common
imaging finding was hepatic calcification (64%). Of 11 patients with liver biopsy, seven (64%) had chronic/
granulomatous inflammation. All 36 were managed medically. Eight were lost to follow up, six died, and 22 (61%)
are alive, nine with complete resolution of liver disease.

Conclusion. Hepatobiliary tuberculosis presents with non-specific clinical and biochemical findings. Several
investigations are necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Overall response to anti-TB treatment is satisfactory with
possible resolution of liver disease.


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