Recent advances in the diagnosis of intestinal tuberculosis

Hasan Maulahela, Marcellus Simadibrata, Erni Juwita Nelwan, Nur Rahadiani, Editha Renesteen, S. W.T. Suwarti, Yunita Windi Anggraini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Intestinal tuberculosis still has a high incidence, especially in developing countries. The biggest challenge of this disease is the establishment of the diagnosis because the clinical features are not typical. Investigations such as culture, acid-fast bacilli (AFB) staining, and histopathology have low sensitivity, so other investigations are needed. Latest molecular-based diagnostic modalities such as GeneXpert, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRA), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), multiplex-PCR, and immunological markers are expected to help diagnose intestinal tuberculosis. This article review will examine the latest diagnostic modalities that can be used as a tool in establishing the diagnosis of intestinal tuberculosis. Results: Through a literature search, we were able to review the diagnostic values of various available diagnostic modalities as the appropriate additional test in intestinal tuberculosis. Culture as a gold standard has a sensitivity and specificity value of 9.3% and 100% with the MGIT BACTEC system as the most recommended medium. The sensitivity values of AFB staining, histopathology examination, GeneXpert, IGRA, PCR, multiplex-PCR and, immunological markers were ranged between 17.3 and 31%; 68%; 81–95.7%; 74–88%; 21.6–65%; 75.7–93.1%; and 52–87%, respectively. Meanwhile the specificity values were 100%; 77.1%; 91–100%; 74–87%; 93–100%; 96.4–100%; and 70–95%, respectively. Conclusion: The combination of clinical examination, conventional examination, and the latest molecular-based examination is the best choice for establishing the diagnosis of intestinal tuberculosis. Most recent modalities such as multiplex PCR and immunological marker examinations are diagnostic tools that deserve to be used in diagnosing intestinal tuberculosis as their sensitivity and specificity values are quite high and more evidences are expected to support the application of these examinations shortly soon.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
JournalBMC Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Diagnosis
  • GenExpert
  • IGRA
  • Immunological marker
  • Intestinal tuberculosis
  • Multiplex-PCR
  • PCR


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