In a survey of 1000 patients with tuberculosis 28 were found to have miliary disease. Half of these patients were over 60 years old. Anorexia and weight loss were present in 19 (70%) and pyrexia in 17 (63%). A factor predisposing to tuberculosis or a history of recent contact was found in 12 (43%), and 21 (75%) had positive cultures. Seventeen (61%) had classical miliary shadowing while four (14%) had cryptic miliary tuberculosis with no radiological evidence of tuberculosis. The remaining seven patients (25%) had radiological changes consistent with pulmonary tuberculosis, but no miliary shadows. Of those who completed chemotherapy, only five (42%) received 18 months' treatment. Nine patients (32%) died from their miliary tuberculosis. Failure to consider the diagnosis, leading to a delay in starting chemotherapy, appeared to be a major problem.
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