Objectives: To characterize the epidemiology of urogenital tuberculosis worldwide and to compare the features of patients from developing countries to those from developed countries.
Methods: A comprehensive search of articles published up to April 2008 using a combination of the terms ‘tuberculosis’, ‘genitourinary’, ‘renal’ and ‘urogenital’ was performed.
Results: Urogenital tuberculosis affects more men than women (2:1), with a mean age of 40.7 years (range 5–90). In 26.9% of cases there is a non-functioning unilateral kidney and in 7.4%, renal failure. Patients from developing countries are more likely to have a delayed diagnosis with a higher frequency of renal failure, unilateral non-functioning kidney, ablative surgery and contracted bladder.
Conclusions: Urogenital tuberculosis is a worldwide disease with more destructive behavior in developing countries where urgent strategies for early detection are particularly warranted.