Pythium Keratitis Leading to Fatal Cavernous Sinus Thrombophlebitis

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Purpose:To report a case of Pythium insidiosum keratitis leading to fatal cavernous sinus thrombophlebitis.Methods:Case report.Results:A 70-year-old man presented with excruciating pain, redness, and diminution of vision in his left eye for 2 weeks after washing his hair with tap water. A total corneal ulcer with surrounding infiltrates and associated corneal thinning was present. Corneal scraping revealed the presence of Gram-positive cocci. KOH wet mount and in vivo confocal microscopy revealed branching hyphae. Combined antibacterial and antifungal treatment was started, but 4 days later, the ulcer showed signs of worsening with perforation for which a large therapeutic penetrating keratoplasty was done. The host cornea showed branching septate hyphae on Sabarouds Dextrose Agar. Two weeks later, the patient developed left eye proptosis with associated extraocular movement restriction. Magnetic resonance imaging of the head and orbit revealed cavernous sinus thrombophlebitis. Lid sparing partial exenteration was performed. Polymerase chain reaction revealed P. insidiosum. The patient subsequently developed a cerebrovascular attack and died of its complications.Conclusions:Ocular pythiosis may lead to cavernous sinus thrombophlebitis and can even be life threatening. Timely diagnosis and early radical surgery are of value. A high index of suspicion must be kept for P. insidiosum in cases with suspected fungal etiology not responding to conventional treatment.

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