A Neglected Case of Colonic Tuberculosis With Thoracolumbar Enterocutaneous Fecal Fistulae

Jie Tan, Daniel Porter, Jinxing Guo, Lijie Pan, Guoshan Yang, Zichao Zhang


Although intestinal tuberculosis (ITB) typically affects ileocecal segments, the complication of tubercular enterocutaneous fistula is very rare. As an isolated phenomenon, primary intestinal manifestation without extraintestinal tuberculosis (TB) is exceptional and rarely reported. We present a patient with isolated ITB with six spontaneous thoracolumbar tubercular enterocutaneous fistulae. A 37-year-old Chinese woman was admitted to our institution complaining of escape of fecal matter through several openings in her back over the previous 20 years. She had nonspecific abdominal symptoms (occasional abdominal pain and alteration in bowel habit). External physical examination confirmed the presence of external thoracolumbar fecal fistulae in association with a scoliosis. Abdominal examination was unremarkable. Diagnostic colonoscopy with biopsy did not definitively confirm a diagnosis of TB. Microscopic examination in both microbiology and histopathology labs failed to identify acid-fast bacilli; however, gastrointestinal TB (GITB) was considered high on the differential diagnosis list. It was elected to perform open laparotomy with resection of the left hemi-colon. Postoperatively, she was treated with standard anti-tuberculous treatment for 6 months. The patient had an uneventful postoperative course, during which the fistulae gradually closed over the next year. This case with several low-output fistulas exiting the patients back was successfully treated by a combination of surgery and antimicrobial therapy. The aim of this rare case report is to raise the awareness of atypical presentation of tubercular colonic enterocutaneous fistula so that timely diagnosis and intervention can salvage patient quality of life.

J Med Cases. 2020;11(5):111-114
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3463


Intestinal tuberculosis; Spontaneous enterocutaneous fistula; Case report

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