How is tuberculous pericarditis diagnosed?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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When evaluating for tuberculous pericarditis, the diagnostic yield for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) in pericardial fluid is fairly low (30-76%). Pericardial biopsy has a much better yield (approximately 100%). Elevated adenosine deaminase in pericardial fluid is useful for diagnosing tuberculosis; studies note greater than 90% sensitivity and specificity with levels higher than 50-70 U/L. Elevated interferon (IFN)-gamma levels in pericardial fluid are also indicative of tuberculous pericarditis.

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