Vol.2, No.7, 411-414 (2013) Case Reports in Clinical Medicine
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
A case of renal tuberculosis diagnosed during
percutaneous nephrolithotomy
Hakan Öztürk1*, Musa Saraçoglu1, Serap Karaarslan2, Tarik Zengin1, Aşkın Gülşen3,
Sena Kalaycıoğlu4
1Urology Department, Sifa University, Izmir, Turkey;
*Corresponding Author: drhakanozturk@yahoo.com.tr, musasaracoglu@yahoo.com, t.zengin@yahoo.com
2Pathology Department, Sifa University, Izmir, Turkey; serapkaraarslan@gmail.com
3Chest Diseases Department, Sifa University, Izmir, Turkey; askingulsen@hotmail.com
4Radiology Department, Sifa University, Izmir, Turkey; senakal1@hotmail.com
Received 20 July 2013; revised 22 August 2013; accepted 3 September 2013
Copyright © 2013 Hakan Öztürk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is very
popular and an efficient method as a gold stan-
dard in management of renal calculi. It is the
first-choice method in management of renal
calculi larger than 2 cm. Our patient underwent
PCNL upon observing multiple renal calculi lar-
ger than 10 mm in a lower pole of the right kid-
ney. Biopsy was performed during PNCL be-
cause morphology and endoscopic view of the
calyx were irregular, calcific and pale white in
color. The patient developed prolonged urinary
leakage from the lumbar region and J-stent was
inserted after the re-entry catheter had been
removed following successful PCNL. Prolonged
urinary leakage persisted although location of
the J-stent was normal. Tuberculosis of the uri-
nary tract should be the first option in the dif-
ferential diagnosis of fistula discharge following
PCNL. In our patient, the biopsy taken at the time
of PCNL revealed renal tuberculosis. Urinary
tract tuberculosis must definitely be considered
in the fistula tract persisted and not closed fol-
lowing PCNL as in the present case. Diagnosis
of tuberculosis was made early in this case ow-
ing to tissue sampling during operation, and
thus the treatment was begun early. So we con-
sider this patient as a special case.
Keywords: Renal Tuberculosis; PCNL
Tuberculosis (TB) is a chronic disease caused by My-
cobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis. TB
has been a disease threatening the public health since the
ancient times. Leading to serious endemics and deaths in
the western countries in the 18th and 19th centuries, the
disease has begun to decrease independent of chemo-
therapy since the beginning of the 20th century. In the
developing countries, it has begun to spread in the 20th
century and the peak point of the endemic has just been
reached. Poverty in these countries facing a big endemic,
inability to implement tuberculosis control programs, and
endemic of HIV/AIDS, especially in the sub-Sahara Af-
rican and southeast Asian countries, has made it diffi-
cult to control the tuberculosis endemic. According to
calculations by the World Health Organization (WHO),
8.8 million new cases of TB emerged in 2005 and about
1.6 million people died of tuberculosis [1]. A recent
meta-analysis indicated that infection was found in av-
eragely 51.4% of the persons living in the same house
with TBC patients [2]. The persons living in the areas
with high incidence of TB, immigrant agricultural work-
ers, the institutionalized persons, HIV carriers, the pa-
tients with chronic conditions such as chronic renal, car-
diac, pulmonary and hepatic failure, and homeless people
are in the high-risk group for tuberculosis [3-5]. Studies
carried out in recent years have also indicated that to-
bacco use significantly increases risk of tuberculosis in-
fection [6]. Estimations from all over the world indicate
that almost one third of the global population is infected
with tuberculosis. The prevalence of infection is higher
in the elderly in the developed countries whereas young
adults constitute majority of the cases with infection in
the developing countries such as those in Asia, Africa,
and Latin America. It has also been shown that the an-
nual risk of disease in tuberculosis-infected patients with
HIV varies between 5% and 15% depending on the se-
H. Öztürk et al. / Case Reports in Clinical Medicine 2 (2013) 411-414
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
verity of the immunosuppression [7].
M. tuberculosis, so-called tuberculosis bacillus, is an
aerobic, non-sporing, slightly curved or smooth bacillus
0.2 0.6 × 1 10 µm in dimension [8]. The cell wall of
the tuberculosis bacillus is much thicker than other bac-
teria and contains higher amounts of lipids. The main
reason for the slow growth rate and drug resistance to
many known antibiotics which are distinctive features of
the tuberculosis bacillus is low permeability of its cell
wall. Rich lipid content as well as less passing canals on
the cell wall compared to other bacteria play an impor-
tant role in low permeability [9]. Diagnosis of the disease
is made by microbiological (direct observation, culture),
molecular (PCR, strand displacement amplification [SDA],
transcription mediated amplification [TMA], ligase chain
reaction [LCR]) and immunological (38 kDa antigen, 16
kDa antigen, QuantiFERON-TB Gold in tube and T
SPOT-TB) assays [10].
Urinary tuberculosis is a common form of extra-pul-
monary tuberculosis. It occurs especially in advanced
ages. The disease most commonly starts from the kid-
neys. The tuberculosis bacillus settles down in the renal
cortex during primary bacillemia and forms multiple
granulomatous foci. Infection is restricted at this point if
immunity is sufficient. Then, some of these lesions are
activated and medulla and papilla of the kidney are in-
volved with the advanced infectious process. Desctruc-
tive changes occur such as papillary necrosis and cavita-
tion. Typical ulcero-cavernous lesions occur subsequent-
ly to ulcerated calyces. At this point, many bacilli and
inflammatory debris are discharged into the renal pelvis
and then into the ureters and bladder [11-13]. There is no
typical clinical sign in urinary tract tuberculosis. The
patient may be asymptomatic since the infection devel-
ops slowly. Local signs are more common than systemic
ones. There is usually a complaint of frequent, painless
micturition. Renal tuberculosis rarely causes loss of renal
function but previous renal conditions may lead to the
development of renal failure. Nephrolithiasis and recur-
rent bacterial infections may develop in the kidneys
[11,14]. Diagnosis of genitourinary tuberculosis is made
by showing the bacillus in the urine or involved tissue.
There are abnormal urinary findings in 90% of patients
with renal or genital tuberculosis. The most common
findings are pyuria, hematuria, or combination of them.
Tuberculosis should be investigated if pyuria is found in
an acidic urine and no microorganism grows in routine
urinary culture. In the studies so far, radiological signs
related to previous or active tuberculosis on chest radio-
grams of 50% to 70% of patients with genitourinary tu-
berculosis [12,14]. Culture is positive in 80% - 95% of
cases of genitourinary tuberculosis. In the study by Bentz
et al. [15], association of genitourinary tuberculosis with
other forms of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis was found
in 21% of the cases. Genitourinary tuberculosis (GUTB)
was demonstrated in 5% of cases with pulmonary tuber-
While nephrectomy was the mainstay for the man-
agement of the renal tuberculosis in the past, it is rarely
required currently. Medical treatment is successful in
renal tuberculosis and standard anti-tuberculosis treat-
ment has been recommended for 6 months. Monthly uri-
nary culture is also recommended during the treatment
until the negative culture is obtained. Nephrectomy is
among the therapeutic options in the case of recurrent
bacterial infections in the dysfunctional kidney, persist-
ing pain, massive hematuria, hypertension or infection
due to multi-drug resistant microorganisms. Surgical or
endoscopic interventions may be required to open stric-
tures in the ureters or to increase capacity of the bladder.
Nephrostomy or drainage through a stent may be per-
formed in progressive failure develops due to hydrone-
phrosis and obstruction. Use of corticosteroids in addi-
tion to a stent in ureterial stenosis is controversial [16].
Genital organ tuberculosis responds well to the anti-tu-
berculosis treatment. Surgical treatment should be con-
sidered only in the presence of pelvic masses not re-
sponding to anti-tuberculosis treatment, persisting pelvic
pain, and renal tuberculosis advanced to auto-nephrec-
tomy despite medical treatment [11,12].
A 66-year-old man presented to our out-patient clinic
with right flank pain and hematuria. The investigations
revealed 4 calculi 10 mm in diameter in the lower pole of
right kidney, parenchymal thinning in the lower pole.
Both kidneys were functional and both ureters were
normal in appearance. His history revealed open surgery
for renal calculi from his left kidney, total thyroidectomy,
duodenal ulcer perforation, and repair of incisional her-
nia. His laboratory findings were as follows: Glucose:
102 mg/dL; creatinine: 1.2 mg/dL; hemogram (WBC:
5400/µL; NEU: 57%; LYM: 30%; MON: 10%; Hemo-
globin: 12.3 g/dL; Hematocrit: 35%, PLT: 320,000/µL);
hepatic function tests: normal; sedimentation rate: 66/
hour; TSH: 1.1 uIU/ml; urine analysis: 30 leukocytes, 7 -
8 erythrocytes per field; Anti-HIV: negative. No bacteria
grown in urinary culture. His own and family history
didn’t reveal tuberculosis.
Pulmonary radiograms were normal. On intravenous
pyelography both kidneys were concurrently functional,
discontinuity between the right ureter and pelvis, caly-
ceal dilatation in the lower pole of right kidney and 4
renal calculi 10 mm in diameter were observed. The pa-
tient underwent PCNL upon observing multiple renal
calculi larger than 10 mm in lower pole of the right kid-
ney. Biopsy was performed during PNCL because mor-
H. Öztürk et al. / Case Reports in Clinical Medicine 2 (2013) 411-414
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
phology and endoscopic view of the calyx was irregular,
calcific and pale white in color. The patient developed
prolonged urinary leakage from lumbar region and J-
stent was inserted after re-entry catheter had been re-
moved following successful PCNL. Prolonged urinary
leakage persisted although location of the J-stent was
normal. Pathological examination of the tissue indicated
a few giant cells, histiocytes, and moderately increased
lymphocytes, and foci containing caseification necrosis
on the regions adjacent to ordinary tubules of the kidney
(H & E, ×4) (Figure 1).
View of giant cell at high magnification (H & E, ×40),
(Figure 2). Acido-resistant staining bacilli in the areas of
caseification necrosis (Acido-resistant staining, ×100) (Fig-
ure 3).
Following consultation with Department of Respira-
tory Diseases, diagnosis of renal tuberculosis was made
and treatment protocol was started with isoniazid, rifam-
picin, morphozinamide, and ethambutole.
TB has been a disease threatening the public health
since the ancient times. The persons living in the areas
with high incidence of TB, immigrant agricultural work-
ers, the institutionalized persons, HIV carriers, the pa-
tients with chronic conditions such as chronic renal, car-
Figure 1. H & E, ×4.
Figure 2. H & E, ×40.
Figure 3. Acido-stant resistaining, ×100.
diac, pulmonary and hepatic failure, and homeless people
are in the high-risk group for tuberculosis [3-5]. Genito-
urinary tuberculosis is a common form of extra-pulmo-
nary tuberculosis. GUTB is a disease with preventable
complications if timely diagnosis and treatment are es-
tablished. In order to avoid outcomes such as renal
failure, clinicians need to be aware of signs and symp-
toms of GUTB when treating urinary problems. Nephro-
lithiasis and recurrent bacterial infections may develop in
the kidneys due to urinary tuberculosis [11,14]. The di-
agnosis of urinary tuberculosis is sometimes difficult,
especially when stone disease is present. Both conditions
can cause similar radiologic findings and most patients
are diagnosed as the urinary stone disease since the ra-
diological findings of this disease are more evident. As in
the case presented most of these patients undergo inter-
ventions for stone disease and the misdiagnosis of uri-
nary tuberculosis can cause some post-operative difficult-
ies such as urinary fistula formation. Early diagnosis of
tuberculosis can prevent these complications. We per-
formed biopsy during PNCL because morphology and
endoscopic view of the calyx was irregular, calcific and
pale white in color and the diagnosis of tuberculosis was
made by pathological examination. This early diagnosis
and treatment facilitated the treatment of urinary fistula
formation after PCNL. We believe that urinary tubercu-
losis should be kept in mind in the urinary stone disease
patients who live in endemic regions and have a high risk
of pulmonary tuberculosis. Urinary tuberculosis can be
the main scenario for prolonged urinary fistula after
PCNL or other urological interventions in some cases.
The urologist should not underestimate this disease be-
cause of the increasing incidence of tuberculosis in both
developed and under-developed countries.
In conclusion, our patient is asymptomatic and being
followed by us with negative tuberculosis-specific uri-
nary culture after quadruple anti-tuberculosis treatment.
Tuberculosis of the urinary tract and extra-pulmonary
tuberculosis are still a big challenge. Increased the use of
immunosuppressive agents, and increased the prevalence
H. Öztürk et al. / Case Reports in Clinical Medicine 2 (2013) 411-414
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
of several infectious diseases compromising immunity
such as HIV, multi-drug resistance, and slowing in dis-
covery of new therapeutic agents have made this prob-
lem even more important currently. Because of difficult
diagnosis, tuberculosis of urinary tract must be one of the
possibilities to be first considered in the case of not-
closed urinary fistula following PCNL. The fact that the
diagnosis was made by biopsy rather than classical me-
thods and treatment was begun in the early stage was
important for our patient in terms of reducing mortality
and morbidity.
[1] World Health Organization (2009) Global tuberculosis
control: Surveillance, planning, financing. WHO report
2009. World Health Organization, Geneva.
[2] Morrison, J., Pai, M. and Hopewell, C.P. (2008) Tuber-
culosis and latent tuberculosis infection in close contacts
of people with pulmonary tuberculosis in low-income and
middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-
analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 8, 359-368.
[3] Stead, W.W. (1981) Tuberculosis among elderly persons:
An outbreak in a nursing home. Annals of Internal Me-
dicine, 94, 606-610.
[4] den Boon, S., van Lill, S.W., Borgdorff, M.W., et al.
(2005) Association between smoking and tuberculosis
infection: A population survey in a high tuberculosis
incidence area. Thorax, 60, 555-557.
[5] Rieder, H.L. (1999) Epidemiologic basis of tuberculosis.
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Di-
sease, Paris.
[6] Bates, M.N., Khalakdina, A., Pai, M., et al. (2007) Risk
of tuberculosis from exposure to tobacco smoke. A
systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Internal
Medicine, 167, 335-342.
[7] Guelar, A., Gatel, J.M., Verdejo, J., et al. (1993) A pros-
pective study of the risk of tuberculosis among HIV-
infected patients. AIDS, 7, 1345-1349.
[8] Barrera, L. (2007) The basics of clinical bacteriology. In:
Palomino, J.C., Leao, S.C. and Ritacco, V., Eds., Tuber-
culosis 2007: From Basic Science to Patient Care, Sao
Paulo, 93-112. www.TuberculosisTextbook.com
[9] Niederweis, M. (2003) Mycobacterial porins: New chan-
nel proteins in unique outer membranes. Molecular Mi-
crobiology, 49, 1167-1177.
[10] Goletti, D., Stefania, C., Butera, O., et al. (2008) Ac-
curacy of immunodiagnostic tests for active tuberculosis
using single and combined results: A multicenter TBNET-
study. PLOS Medicine, 3, Article ID: e3417.
[11] Iseman, M.D. (2000) A clinician’s guide to tuberculosis.
Lippincot, Williams, Philadelphia.
[12] Hopewell, P.C. (2005) Tuberculosis and other myco-
bacterial diseases. In: Mason, R.J., Murray, J.F., Broaddus,
V.C. and Nadel, J.A., Eds., Murray and Nadels Textbook
of Respiratory Medicine, 4th Edition, Elsevier Saunders,
Philadelphia, 979-1043.
[13] Golden, M.P. and Vikram, H.R. (2005) Extrapulmonary
tuberculosis: An overview. American Family Physician,
72, 1761-1768.
[14] Gow, J.G. (1999) Genitourinary tuberculosis In: Schloss-
berg, D., Ed., Tuberculosis and Nontuberculous Myco-
bacterial Infections, 4th Edition, Saunders, Philadelphia,
[15] Bentz, R.R., Dimcheff, D.G., Nemeroff, M.J., et al. (1975)
The incidence of urine cultures positive for M. Tuber-
culosis in a general tuberculosis patient population. Ame-
rican Review of Respiratory Disease, 111 , 647-650.
[16] American Thoracic Society/Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention/Infectious Diseases Society of America
(2005) A controlling tuberculosis in the United States.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Me-
dicine, 172, 1169-1227.