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J Med Case Rep. 2014 Feb 5;8:37. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-8-37.

Fatal fulminant necrotizing pneumonia: a case report.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic Gonda, Building 18S, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Here we present the case of a patient with fatal pulmonary histoplasmosis who presented with extensive necrotizing and cavitating pneumonia. To the best of our knowledge, this case report is the first to describe this presentation in a patient with no known immunosuppression.


A 45-year-old Caucasian woman, a smoker from southeastern Minnesota, presented to our hospital with progressive dyspnea, fatigue and weight loss over the course of several months. Her medical history included type 2 diabetes mellitus, systemic hypertension and chronic opioid use for back pain. She did not have any recent travel history, and she had no unusual hobbies or risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus. When she was admitted to our intensive care unit, she was in hypoxic respiratory failure, thus we intubated her and placed her on mechanical ventilation. A computed tomographic scan of the chest revealed extensive areas of pulmonary necrosis with diffuse bilateral cavitation and lung destruction, which were especially prominent in the upper and middle lung fields. Bronchoalveolar lavage confirmed growth of Histoplasma capsulatum as the sole isolated pathogen. No other infectious agents were identified in blood, bronchoalveolar lavage, sputum or urine samples. Her condition worsened over the next 24 to 48 hours, with progressive multi-organ failure in spite of aggressive antibiotic and antifungal therapy. Her family elected to withdraw supportive care, and she died shortly thereafter.


This case demonstrates a novel manifestation of histoplasmosis associated with extensive lung necrosis and cavitation. This report is of particular interest to pulmonologists and intensivists and underscores the importance of maintaining suspicion for mycotic disease in patients who have atypical presentations but live in an endemic area.

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