Tuberc Respir Dis.  1999 Jan;46(1):17-24. 10.4046/trd.1999.46.1.17.

Factors Associated with the Development of Pleural Thickening in Tuberculous Pleurisy

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.


A sizable percentage of tuberculous pleurisy patients are known to have residual pleural thickening(RPT) despite adequate anti-tuberculous chemotherapy. But, the predictive factors related to the development of RPT is not well known. Therefore, we studied to determine which factors are related to the development of RPT after completion of therapy.
By retrospective review of medical records, fifty-eight patients initially diagnosed as having tuberculous pleurisy between March 1995 and January 1998 were separated into two groups: 27 patients in group 1 had RPT on simple chest radiography, while 31 patients in group 2 had no RPT after 6 month of anti-tuberculous chemotherapy. The clinical characteristics, radiologic findings and pleural fluid findings of the two group were compared at the time of diagnosis and during the course of therapy.
1) 47% of patients had RPT after 6 month of chemotherapy, and RPT was more common in man than in women(54% vs 29%,p=0.092). 2) In group 2 patients, complete resorption of pleural lesion occurred rather late stage of therapy(1-2 month : 26%, 3-4 month :29%, 5-6 month : 45%). 3) Group 1 patients had increased percentage of loculated pleural lesion(26% vs 19%) and increased white blood cell and lymphocyte count, lactate dehydrogenase level in pleural fluid (3527+/-5652 vs 2467+/-2201/ml, 2066+/-2022 vs 1698+/-1835/ml and 1636+/-1143 vs 1441+/-923IU/ml, respectively) than group 2 at the time of diagnosis, but statistically insignificant. 4) Duration of symptom prior to treatment, size of pleural effusion, presence of parenchymal lung lesion, level of total protein, glucose and adenosine deaminase(ADA) activity in pleural fluid were similar in both group.
53% of tuberculous pleurisy patients showed slow but complete resorption of pleural lesion after 6 month of chemotherapy. But, no clinical, radiological and pleural fluid findings are predictive for the development of RPT.


Tuberculous pleurisy; Residual pleural thickening
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