The clinical course of 35 patients with tuberculous peritonitis notified in Kandy (Sri Lanka) over a 6-year period has been reviewed. The maximum incidence occurred in the age group 21 to 40 years and the female/male ratio was 3:2. Clinical features were non-specific and the main presenting features were fever (68.5%), abdominal pain (65.7%), abdominal distension (54.2%), abdominal mass (54.2%) and ascites (45.7%). The symptoms were of insidious onset and 85% had symptoms for more than one month. Chest X-ray revealed abnormality suggestive of tuberculosis in 47%. Intra-abdominal tuberculosis was suspected in 43% of 26 patients before laparotomy. Four of the 32 patients given anti-tuberculous drugs died. Overall mortality was 20%.
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