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Tuberculosis

Brain TB

01/06/2010

Question:

My mother is facing Brain TB now and she is in ICU. She already faced the problem of cancer 5 years ago and was cured. She also has the problem of sugar.  Because of this the doctor is saying that chances of curing the Brain TB decreases and is only 10% for her, but still we can hope and the treatment is going on. Can we find better treatment for her for her diseases? What do I need to know related to my mother`s condition? Thanks for reading.

Answer:

I am very sorry to hear of your mother's misfortune. Tuberculosis of the brain is a very serious illness. Without knowing the specifics of her case it is very difficult to make any comment on her prognosis. There is considerable risk of death or neurologic disabilities.

There are several forms of tuberculosis of the brain, including tuberculosis meningitis, tuberculoma (mass in the brain), and tuberculosis brain abscess (fluid collection in the brain). In studies that have looked at prognosis of tuberculosis meningitis, the only factors that clearly predicted mortality were the stage of illness at the time of presentation.

Stage 1 (early) fully conscious and alert Stage 2(intermediate) drowsy, lethargic, cranial nerve palsies Stage 3( advanced) coma, paralysis. The more advanced the disease at the time of presentation to medical care the worse the prognosis.

Treatment includes standard tuberculosis medications and sometimes steroids. Because so many factors can predict mortality from tuberculosis meningitis you really have to rely on the judgement of the physicians who are caring for her. Good luck to you and your mother.

For more information:

Go to the Tuberculosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Catherine A Curley, MD, MS Catherine A Curley, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University