Genitourinary tuberculosis in North America: A rare clinical entity


  • Michael W Sourial McGill University Health Center
  • Fadi Brimo
  • Ruth Horn
  • Sero Andonian



tuberculosis, urogenital system, disease management


Introduction: Although tuberculosis (TB) is the most common cause of mortality from infectious diseases worldwide, genitourinary TB in North America is rare. We review 3 cases of genitourinary TB diagnosed within the last 5 years.

Cases: The first case is that of a 76-year-old African-Canadian woman who was referred for percutaneous nephrolithotomy of right lower pole renal stones. Although renal TB was suspected, her initial urinary TB culture was negative. On follow-up imaging, she developed bilateral ureteral thickening and ureteroscopic biopsy confirmed necrotizing granulomata. Repeat urine cultures were positive for M. tuberculosis. The second case is a 73-yearold Italian-Canadian woman who was referred for ureteroscopic biopsy of left thickened ureter to rule out urothelial carcinoma. Initial urine TB cultures were negative, despite biopsies confirming granulomatous inflammation. She was closely followed with urine cytologies and TB cultures. Repeat urine culture was positive for M. tuberculosis. Both patients were treated with a course of anti-tuberculous agents and indwelling ureteral stents to relieve ureteral obstruction. The third case is a 70-year-old Cree woman who was referred for percutaneous nephrolithotomy of a left “staghorn stone” in an atrophic left kidney. Thirty years earlier she had been treated for pulmonary TB in addition to ileocystoplasty for a “thimble” bladder. A computed tomography scan showed autonephrectomized left kidney. Her urine TB cultures were negative. She was placed on prophylactic antibiotics for her recurrent bacterial urinary tract infections.

Conclusion: Genitourinary TB may present in various subtle ways, and the astute clinician must have a high index of suspicion for this disease in patients with atypical clinical and radiologic findings. In addition, TB urine cultures should be repeated when there is high index of suspicion.


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How to Cite

Sourial, M. W., Brimo, F., Horn, R., & Andonian, S. (2015). Genitourinary tuberculosis in North America: A rare clinical entity. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 9(7-8), E484–9.



Case Series