Airway obstruction and acute respiratory failure due to Aspergillus tracheobronchitis

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Abstract

Objective

To report a patient with lymphoma who developed Aspergillus tracheobronchitis resulting in airway obstruction and acute respiratory failure.

Design

Case report.

Setting

Intensive care unit of a tertiary care hospital.

Patient

A 22-yr-old female with lymphoma who developed a respiratory infection 3 months after completing immunosuppressive therapy. She was treated empirically with broad spectrum antibiotics and subsequently received a supplementary chemotherapeutic course. Soon afterward she developed severe respiratory failure. Chest radiograph showed atelectasis of the right upper and lower lobes.

Interventions

Emergent mechanical ventilation; fiberoptic bronchoscopy.

Measurements and Main Results

Fiberoptic bronchoscopy revealed extensive obstruction of both main and subsegmental bronchi with a solid mass strongly adhered to the bronchial wall; both histologic examination and culture of that mass revealed Aspergillus. The patient died of refractory hypoxemia a few days later.

Conclusions

Aspergillus tracheobronchitis should be considered in immunocompromised patients with suspected lung infection even when the main radiographic finding is atelectasis. Bronchoscopy and histologic examination of identified intraluminal material should be performed as soon as possible.

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