ABSTRACT: A 55-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital because of chest pain, fever, and right pleural effusion that was exudative and lymphocyte-dominant with a high level of adenosine deaminase (ADA). Since her blood QuantiFERON-TB 3G test (QFT) was positive, she was diagnosed with tuberculous pleurisy. After initiation of anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy with isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide, her symptoms improved. Later, liquid culture of the pleural effusion turned positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. On the 18th day of treatment, her chest X-ray and computed tomography exhibited pleural effusion in a moderate amount in the left thorax, with subsiding pleural effusion in the right thorax. Thoracocentesis demonstrated that the left thorax effusion was also exudative and lymphocyte-dominant, with elevated QFT response and high ADA concentration, suggesting tuberculous pleurisy. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was detected in the culture of a left pleural biopsy specimen obtained by thoracoscopy. We assumed that the left pleural effusion was due to paradoxical worsening because (1) on admission no effusion or lung parenchymal lesion was detected in the left hemithorax, (2) on the 14th day of treatment she was afebrile without pleural effusion on both sides, and (3) the bacilli were sensitive to the drugs she had been taking regularly. We performed drainage of the left effusion and continued the same anti-tuberculosis drugs, which led to the elimination of all her symptoms and of the pleural effusion on both sides. In conclusion, paradoxical worsening should be included in the differential diagnosis when contralateral pleural effusion is detected during the treatment of tuberculosis.
Kekkaku: [Tuberculosis] 07/2011; 86(7):723-7.