Tuberculosis of the sternoclavicular joint. Report of two cases.

Department of Rheumatology B, El Ayachi Salé Hospital, Rabat-Salé Teaching Hospital, Morocco.
Revue du rhumatisme (English ed.) 01/1999; 65(12):791-4.
Source: PubMed


The sternoclavicular joint accounts for only 1 to 2% of all cases of peripheral tuberculous arthritis and is more often infected by pyogenic organisms than by the tubercle bacillus. We report two cases of sternoclavicular joint tuberculosis, in a 38-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman without risk factors for immune deficiency. Swelling of the joint was the presenting manifestation. Laboratory tests indicated inflammation in only one of the patients. The intradermal tuberculin test was strongly positive in both patients, whereas smears and cultures of sputum and urine samples were negative for the tubercle bacillus. Serologic tests for the human immunodeficiency virus were negative. Erosions of the affected joint were seen by computed tomography. Histological studies of a surgical biopsy specimen confirmed the diagnosis. Cultures of the biopsy specimens were negative. The outcome was favorable after treatment with rifampin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide for six months in the man and nine in the woman. Follow-ups were eight and six months, respectively, at the time of this writing. Tuberculosis of the sternoclavicular joint is extraordinarily rare and can raise diagnostic problems. The diagnosis should be considered in every patient with arthritis in a sternoclavicular joint or unexplained pain in a shoulder. Possible complications include compression or erosion of the large blood vessels at the base of the neck and migration of tuberculous abscesses to the mediastinum.

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    ABSTRACT: A patient of 41 years of age presented with insidious onset atraumatic swelling arising from medial end of right clavicle with apparently normal radiograph. Initial computed tomography ascribed it to benign bony pathology requiring no specific treatment but patient did not respond to symptomatic management. FNAC done elsewhere was inconclusive, with no bacteria on Gram's staining and negative bacterial culture and AFB smear examinations. Patient had possible exposure to tuberculosis and Mantoux skin test done which showed significant induration. Possible differential diagnoses related to clavicle including infective, neoplastic, rheumatological, degenerative and idiopathic conditions considered. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed focal periosteal reaction with marrow signal changes with sparing of sternoclavicular joint. Correlation between patient's history, clinical findings and investigations done and diagnosis of isolated clavicle tuberculosis was made. Patient showed good response to anti-tubercular chemotherapy. Repeat MRI showed resolution of initial imaging findings. At the end of 2 years patient was completely symptom free.
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