INTRODUCTION : Despite the high burden of disease, there
have been surprisingly few studies of the acute phase and
plasma catecholamine/cortisol stress hormone responses in
patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis. We wished to
document acute phase reactant and stress hormone
responses in patients with newly diagnosed, active pulmonary
tuberculosis and to compare these responses to
those of a group of surgical/medical cases with conditions
other than tuberculosis.
METHODS : This was a prospective study of consecutive
patients with newly diagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis,
admitted to a tertiary hospital in Johannesburg, South
Africa, documenting demographic, clinical, routine laboratory,
acute phase protein and stress hormone responses
relative to those of the control group.
RESULTS : TB patients had a higher body temperature and
pulse rate, as well as a platelet counts, ferritin, CRP and
dopamine levels, with a tendency to higher cortisol levels
compared to the control group. Conversely, they had a lower BMI, haemoglobin, leucocyte count, MCV and epinephrine
levels than the control group.
CONCLUSIONS : Patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis
were documented to mount an acute stress response which
was more intense than that of a control group of patients
with surgical/medical conditions other than tuberculosis.