Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

acid fast bacteria

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 10 Replies
  • Posted By: Sir Coughsalot
  • July 21, 2009
  • 01:00 AM

I got an update from my doctor out of the blue and they think they figured me out all of a sudden. Been having problems off and on still this whole time but everyone keeps saying they can't find any problems. They told me today I have acid fast bacteria in my abdomen?

I did some looking, does that mean I have TB? I had a positive TB test earlier this year but they told me I didn't have TB and never put me on the drugs for it. They tell me they are still running tests and would call me back tonight but they didn't call.

What could it be if there is this acid fast bacteria in my abdomen? They think they solved me but won't tell me what it is yet pending the other tests on whatever that bacteria is. It's been a long 19 months with this. They did say I'll be going to an infectious disease doctor next week.

Suggestions? Specific questions I should be asking? Why didn't something like this come up at Mayo or the string of Pulmonologists I've seen since December 2007?

Thanks for your time all.

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10 Replies:

  • Anyone? I'm looking for information on acid fast bacteria, what it is and what it does, please. Thanks.
    Sir Coughsalot 31 Replies Flag this Response
  • I don't want to jump the gun and attempt to give you a diagnosis before your doctors have completed a thorough evaluation, but, it seems like you may have gastrointestinal tuberculosis. The likely acid-fast bacillus involved is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but M. bovis can also cause GI TB. M.bovis is less likely because it usually results from ingestion of unpastuerized milk. You can find more information about GI TB here:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12864956 Waiting for a complete evaluation by your doctors is the most appropriate step at this time. As mentioned in the above abstract, the diagnosis is rare in the U.S. and can be delayed.
    m3dh31p 69 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks, appreciate the information.
    Sir Coughsalot 31 Replies Flag this Response
  • Called to check, the nurse said no new news yet. Still just that they found that stuff and that they are running tests on it to determine what it is. Are there other things acid fast bacteria could be besides TB? I recently did get a positive annual PPD from work but the Pulmonologist said I don't have it. Thanks again
    Sir Coughsalot 31 Replies Flag this Response
  • "Called to check, the nurse said no new news yet. Still just that they found that stuff and that they are running tests on it to determine what it is." AFB cultures generally take 4-6 weeks to show any growth and you should allow this much time for culture and sensitivity results. "Are there other things acid fast bacteria could be besides TB?"Acid-fast bacteria mainly include Mycobacterium species. Nocardia is another bacterial species that is weakly acid-fast. I wouldn't spend time worrying about the acid-fast organisms, and wait for the results to come through. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, you can then undergo the appropriate treatment. Once again, I want to reiterate that waiting for your evaluation to be completed is the most appropriate step at this time. All the best.
    m3dh31p 69 Replies Flag this Response
  • Test results are back in: Mycobacterium gordonae. All I can find on the net is it's something that HIV or severely immune compromised patients can get. I have to go see the infectious disease specialist on Monday now. What is it and what does it do?
    Sir Coughsalot 31 Replies Flag this Response
  • Infection with Mycobacterium gordonae is extremely rare. Your ID doctor will need to evaluate you and determine if this finding is due to-contamination during specimen collection-nonpathogenic colonization-a real infection This may involve clinical evaluation including immune status, and further testing as necessary.
    m3dh31p 69 Replies Flag this Response
  • So if it is an actual infection, how hard is it to kill and how long will it take? Is this an outpatient type of thing?Would that cause shortness of breath, horrid coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, light headed, abdominal pain and arthritis like symptoms from the waist down?Plus a positive TB skin test?Oh, and how rare is extremely rare? Like Mystery Diagnosis rare? Heh.Thanks again for your time.
    Sir Coughsalot 31 Replies Flag this Response
  • M. gordonae is so commonly found in the environment that it is called the "tap water bacillus." Infection with it is rare enough so that there are only case reports of infection, particularly in HIV-infected patients. No numbers are available as far as I know. So, yes, you can say it is "Mystery Diagnosis" rare, if not more so (but not impossible). The TB skin test can give false positives in some cases, especially with infection with other Mycobacteria (or with BCG vaccination, which is not used in the U.S.). The general protocol is to follow up a positive PPD with chest X-ray. If CXR does not show lesions, isoniazid prophylaxis may be given. If CXR shows lesions, confirmation with sputum cultures, and, if positive, anti-tubercular therapy is done. Your pulmonologist presumably did not find any reason to initiate prophylaxis or treatment, so I would have to assume your test was considered a false-positive. More information on TB skin testing can be found here:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003839.htm I cannot speculate what may be causing your symptoms as I cannot presume to know better than your pulmonary and infectious disease specialists and other doctors who have been evaluating you for quite some time. If you are found to have an infection with M. gordonae, treatment with antibiotics is indicated. Treatment is guided by sensitivity results and the protocol of the institution where you are treated. For medicines used in treatment, please see:http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/223038-treatment I hope I have addressed some of your concerns. All the best.
    m3dh31p 69 Replies Flag this Response
  • Yep, that about covers it. Thanks again for all the research.
    Sir Coughsalot 31 Replies Flag this Response
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