Tuberculosis of the larynx


  • Presented at the Meeting: Of the Middle Section of the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Olological Society, Inc., Chicago, Ill., February 1, 1975.


Tuberculosis of the larynx, once a common disease, has become quite rare with the advent of anti-tuberculous chemotherapy. In the pre-antibiotic era two modes of laryngeal infection were recognized; bronchogenic and hematogenous. The literature is briefly reviewed. Thirteen patients in the past 15 years in whom tuberculous laryngitis was diagnosed upon indirect laryngoscopy by members of the University of Michigan Department of Otorhinolaryngology are presented. Bronchogenic infection was present in 11, and in two patients the disease was consistent with hematogenous spread. Tissue biopsy from a case of bronchogenic contamination demonstrated epithelioid tubercles, while numerous subepithelial acid-fast bacilli without typical tuberculous histological change were present in a case of hematogenous laryngeal infection. A case of cicatricial laryngeal stenosis was successfully treated surgically by laryngofissure, excision of fibrosis with arytenoidectomy, and free mucous membrane grafting. Finally, the initial subtle presentation of many of our patients emphasizes the importance of a consideration of tuberculosis in the differential diagnosis of chronic laryngitis.