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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 285-290

Pancreatic mass in a 95-year-old male: A rare presentation of tuberculosis

1 Department of Internal Medicine, St. Luke's University Hospital Network, Bethlehem, USA
2 Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
3 Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA
4 Department of Pathology, St. Luke's University Hospital Network, Bethlehem, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sudip Nanda
Department of Internal Medicine, St. Luke's University Hospital Network, 801 Ostrum Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2455-5568.222477

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Due to the great increase of international travel and emigration, physicians the world over may face serious diagnostic challenges, resulting from the inability to recognize diseases totally alien to their culture, and diseases common to their culture but presenting with previously unseen complications. Over the past 50 years, the frequency of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MT) infections, arising in the native populations of the United States and other industrialized countries, has been declining. However, the rate of infections in under-developed nations remains at a very high rate. Tuberculosis (TB) can occur in any organ or tissue and can mimic many other diseases. We present the case of a 95-year-old male immigrant from India, with abdominal pain and chronic anemia. Investigation of his abdominal pain revealed a large pancreatic mass with possible hepatic metastases consistent with pancreatic cancer. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the mass obtained by endoscopic ultrasound, demonstrated granulomatous inflammation and yielded cultures positive for MT. Antitubercular therapy resulted in progressive resolution of the pancreatic mass and the anemia. The initial clinical impression and radiological findings, in a 95-year-old patient, may well have prompted a harmful decision to opt for comfort care only. This was avoided in our patient by adherence to the strict standard of pursuing a definitive tissue diagnosis for all “masses of unknown origin.” The merits of this case report are in the thorough discussion and illustration of the unusual pathogenesis of TB of the elderly, the imperative of assessing socioeconomic status of patients, and the diagnostic considerations required to evaluate extrapulmonary TB. The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Patient care and Medical knowledge.

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