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J Bronchology Interv Pulmonol. 2009 Apr;16(2):102-4. doi: 10.1097/LBR.0b013e31819b2263.

Bronchoscopic view of a tuberculosis cavity with actinomyces.

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Department of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.


Coexistence of pulmonary actinomycosis with tuberculosis has rarely been reported. The presence of Actinomyces in sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage is inadequate for diagnosis, as it may represent mere colonization. Traditionally, excisional biopsy is considered to be the gold standard for histologic diagnosis. There are multiple case reports in which the diagnosis of pulmonary actinomycosis was based on bronchial biopsy and Wang needle aspiration. We describe an incidental finding of a bronchial communication with passage of a flexible bronchoscope into the tuberculosis cavity. The images reveal a 5-cm cavity with a whitish, stone-like structure noticed to move back and forth with respiration. Colonies of Actinomyces were seen on transbronchial brushing cytology. Bronchoalveolar lavage cultures were negative. To our knowledge such a detailed pictorial description of a tuberculosis cavity with Actinomyces has not been reported in the past.

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