Medical History and Physical Exam for Tuberculosis (TB)
When you give your medical history, your
doctor collects information about whether you are likely to have
tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial infection. An active
infection can spread to other people. A latent infection cannot spread to other
people, but it can turn active and become contagious. Your doctor will ask
- Have symptoms of active TB, such as ongoing
cough, fatigue, fever, or night sweats.
- Have been in any situations
that may increase your risk of being infected with TB-causing bacteria, such as
contact with a person who has active TB, recent travel to places where TB is
common, or having a weakened
- Have had a tuberculin skin
test (TB skin test, PPD test) before, and what the results
an HIV infection.
- Are taking any medicines,
both prescription and nonprescription. Your doctor will want a list of all of
these medicines, including herbs and natural products.
- Have been
diagnosed with TB in the past but were not treated.
The physical exam looks for signs of TB. A doctor uses a
stethoscope to listen to your breathing for sounds that indicate a problem in
your lungs. The doctor also will look for signs of a TB infection in parts of
the body other than your lungs (extrapulmonary TB).
Why It Is Done
A medical history and physical exam
may be done to check for TB if you have:
- TB symptoms, such as ongoing cough, fatigue,
fever, or night sweats.
- Close contact with a person infected with
active TB disease.
- Spent time in a country where TB is
Results from the physical exam may
- The sounds your lungs make while you breathe are
- You do not have a cough or a fever.
- There are
no signs of TB infection in parts of the body other than your lungs (extrapulmonary TB).
- The sounds your lungs make while you breathe indicate a
- You have a cough or a fever.
- You have signs of
TB infection in parts of the body other than your lungs, such as swollen lymph
What To Think About
Although the medical history and
physical exam can suggest you have active TB disease, finding TB-causing
bacteria in the mucus from your lungs (sputum)
The medical history alone does not prove whether
you have TB disease in parts of the body other than your lungs (extrapulmonary TB). Examining a sample of tissue from
the affected area or organ (biopsy) for TB-causing bacteria is the
only way to know for sure.
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology|
|Last Revised||April 4, 2013|