The Use of Pleural Adenosine Deaminase in the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Spinal Tuberculosis

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Spinal tuberculosis (TB) is associated with serious neurologic morbidity. It commonly presents as back pain, with or without systemic symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most sensitive and specific imaging modality for spinal TB. The diagnosis of spinal TB is made with tissue biopsy and acid-fast bacilli (AFB) culture; however, tissue AFB smear and tissue TB deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can influence early clinical decision making. Ancillary tests such as the purified protein derivative (PPD) skin test, QuantiFERON®-TB Gold (QFT) or pleural adenosine deaminase (ADA) can be used in conjunction with radiology and clinical findings to initiate treatment while AFB tissue cultures are pending. Spinal TB responds well to early medical management and surgery is reserved for cases with neurologic complications.