Clinical Signs of Orbital Ischemia in Rhino-Orbitocerebral Mucormycosis

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Mucormycosis is the most acutely fatal fungus infection of man (Ferry and Abedi).1 The most common clinical type of infection is rhino-orbitocerebral mucormycosis. Prompt recognition of the clinical picture is essential if the appropriate urgent management is to be instituted without delay. The presence of black eschar in the region of the nasal passages, palate, midface, and orbit is the best-recognized clinical sign alerting the clinician to the diagnosis. Black eschar is, however, a feature in only a minority of these patients at the time of presentation. This paper discusses other clinical signs, particularly orbital ischemia, which should suggest the diagnosis.

The clinical presentation of orbital ischemia in mucormycosis includes proptosis, total external and internal ophthalmoplegia, and early blindless. A lax, nontender periorbital puffiness, which does not feel warm to the examiner's touch, is typical. Proptosis and chemosis, if present, are mild. These signs are compared with those of pyogenic orbital cellulitis, with which the condition might most easily be confused.

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