Miliary tuberculosis

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[edit] Discussion of Miliary tuberculosis

  • Background: Miliary tuberculosis (TB) is the widespread dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from hematogenous spread.
  • Classic miliary TB is defined as milletlike (mean 2 mm, range 1-5 mm) seeding of TB bacilli in the lung, as evidenced on chest radiograph.
  • This pattern is seen in 1-3% of all TB cases.


  • Miliary TB may occur in an individual organ (very rare, <5%), in several organs, or throughout the whole body (>90%), including the brain.
  • The infection is characterized by a large amount of TB bacilli, although it easily may be missed and is fatal if untreated.
  • Up to 25% of patients with miliary TB may have meningeal involvement.
  • On autopsy, multiple TB lesions are detected throughout the body in organs such as the lungs, liver, spleen, brain, and others.


  • Untreated, the mortality rate is assumed to be close to 100%.
  • With early and appropriate treatment, the mortality rate is reduced to less than 10%.


[edit] Imaging Findings for Miliary tuberculosis

  • As mentioned above, classic miliary TB is defined as milletlike (mean 2 mm, range 1-5 mm) seeding of TB bacilli

[edit] Images

Patient #1

[edit] See Also

[edit] External Links

Goldminer: Miliary tuberculosis

[edit] References for Miliary tuberculosis

  • E-medicine miliary tuberculosis article
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