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The Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care publishes articles broadly related to pulmonary medicine including thoracic surgery, transplantation, airways disease, pediatric pulmonology, anesthesiolgy, pharmacology, nursing  and more. Manuscripts may be either basic or clinical original investigations or review articles. Potential authors of review articles are encouraged to contact the editors before submission, however, unsolicited review articles will be considered.



Diffuse Idiopathic Pulmonary Neuroendocrine Cell Hyperplasia in a Patient with Multiple Pulmonary Nodules: Case Report and Literature Review

Hasan S. Yamin, MD1

Feras Hawarri, MD1

Mutaz Labib, MD1

Ehab Massad, MD2

Hussam Haddad, MD3


Departments of 1Internal Medicine Pulmonary & Critical Care Division, 2Thoracic Surgery and 3Pathology

King Hussein Cancer Center

Amman, Jordan



Diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia (DIPNECH) is a rare pulmonary disease, where carcinoid tumorlets invade the pulmonary parenchyma and bronchioles. These nests of cells release a variety of mediators including bombesin and gastrin releasing peptide that cause heterogeneous bronchoconstriction, creating a mosaic appearance on chest imaging studies, especially on expiratory scans. Clinically patients usually have long standing symptoms of shortness of breath (SOB) and cough that are difficult to distinguish from asthma. In this article we describe a case of DIPNECH in a patient with several years’ history of SOB and cough, and review 179 cases of DIPNECH reported in the literature since 1992.

Case Presentation

A 72-year-old, non-smoking lady was admitted to the hospital in preparation for bilateral mastectomy. She recently received a diagnosis of bilateral breast invasive ductal carcinoma grade 2, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) positive in the left tumor but negative in the right tumor.

Her past medical history was significant for hypertension, long standing cough and dyspnea on exertion labeled as asthma poorly responsive to nebulizers. Socially, she was a house wife with no history of occupational exposure.

The patient was found to be tachypneic (respiratory rate 22 breaths/minute) and hypoxemic (oxygen saturation 86% on room air). Heart rate and blood pressure were within normal limits. She had bilateral decreased breath sounds and diffuse expiratory wheezes.

Chest CT scan revealed diffuse mosaic pattern and multiple pulmonary nodules in both lungs suggestive of metastases (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Representative images form chest CT scan showing a diffuse mosaic pattern and multiple pulmonary nodules in both lung fields suggestive of metastases.

These lesions did not take up fludeoxyglucose (FDG) on positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Her pulmonary function tests (PFT) were unremarkable except for reduction in expiratory reserve volume (ERV) at 22%, and increased residual volume to total lung capacity ratio (RV/TLC) at 136% probably related to air trapping. Diffusion lung capacity was within normal limits.

Video assisted thoracoscopic biopsy of one of the nodules in left lower lobe was done. Pathology showed both a carcinoid tumor and tumorlets invading lung bronchioles (Figure 2A & B) and these tumorlets were positive for chromogranin (Figure 2C & D) and pancytokeratin (Figure 2 E & F).

Figure 2. A & B: histology (H&E stain) showing carcinoid tumorlets invading lung bronchioles; C & D: positive staining for chromogranin; E &F: positive staining for pancytokeratin.

A diagnosis of diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia (DIPNECH) was made, and the patient was treated with intravenous steroids and nebulizers. Her oxygen saturation improved to 94% on room air. She was later discharged on oral steroids. Her CT scan also showed no significant improvement in changes described above.

Review of the Literature


We searched PubMed for all cases of diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia reported in the English literature since 1992 when the entity was first described. A total of 179 patients were identified in 55 articles, in the form of case reports and case series. In this article we contribute an additional patient (1-55).

Patient Characteristics

A total of 180 patients (including our patient) were identified. There were 161 females (89.5%) and only 19 males (10.5%). Mean age at diagnosis was 57.75 years (males tended to present at a younger age of 52 years, compared to 58.4 years in females). Most patients were never smokers 52.8%, smokers/exsmokers 27.2%, and in 20% smoking status was not mentioned.

The majority of patients presented with cough (91 patients, 50.5%), followed by exertional dyspnea (81 patients, 45%), and hemoptysis (6 patients, 3.3%). Incidental imaging findings led to diagnosis in 22 patients (12.2%). Mean duration of symptoms before diagnosis was 8.25 years (Table 1).

Table 1. Patients` characteristics and presenting symptoms.

Diagnosis, Therapy and Outcome

Most patients underwent imaging with chest CT scan, the most common findings were nodules in 148 patients (82.2%), ground glass opacities/mosaic pattern in 66 patients (36.6%), and bronchial wall thickening in 37 patients (20.5%). Most patients had an abnormal spirometry: obstructive pattern (48.9%), restrictive (5%), or mixed obstructive restrictive pattern (6.7%) (Table 2).

Table 2. Spirometry and imaging.

Because of their symptoms, and spirometry findings 45 patients (25%) were labeled with another disease including asthma in 29 patients (16.1%), COPD in 12 patients (6.6%) and bronchiolitis in 4 patients (2.2%).

The diagnosis was made using surgical lung biopsy in 148 patients (82.2%), bronchoscopic biopsy in 10 patients (8 transbronchial biopsy, 2 endobronchial biopsy) (5.6%), CT-guided biopsy in 7 patients (3.9%), postmortem diagnosis in 3 patients (1.7%), post lung transplantation in 2 patients (1.1%) and clinically in 2 patients (1.1%). The diagnostic method was not mentioned in 8 patients (4.4%).

Patients received a variety of therapies including inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled or systemic steroids, and somatostatin analogues among others. Response to treatment was mentioned for 89 patients, (59 patients reported that their symptoms remained stable, 11 patients improved with treatment, while 18 patients reported symptom progression and 2 patients died. (Table 3).

Table 3. List of DIPNECH articles ordered by publication year. This table shows number of patients in each article, diagnostic method, therapy given and outcome.

Of note, 15 out of 23 patients who received a somatostatin analogue reported stable, or improvement in their symptoms (65.2%), which did not necessarily translate into improvement in air flows on spirometry (27, 29, 46, 51).


Pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia was described early in the previous century (56), however the significance and role of the pathologic changes were not precisely determined. It was thought that they were secondary to other lung diseases such as interstitial lung disease, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, smoking exposure, or in people who live at high altitude. In addition to the previously mentioned associations, hyperplasia of pulmonary neuroendocrine cells was also thought to be a pre-neoplastic process, since the lesions can potentially progress to carcinoid tumors even without causing symptoms or airflow limitation. In 2004 the changes were recognized by WHO as one end of the spectrum of pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors.

The relationship between carcinoid tumorlets and other pulmonary diseases and its role in precipitating respiratory symptoms remains puzzling. The term DIPNECH was coined in 1992 by Aguayo (1) who described a new entity where idiopathic hyperplasia or dysplasia of pulmonary neuroendocrine cells occurred in the absence of other lung disorders. The changes were associated with physiologic and radiologic airflow limitation similar to obliterative bronchiolitis. This was the first description of pulmonary neuroendocrine hyperplasia as a primary process.

Because of similar symptoms, an obstructive pattern on pulmonary function tests, and chest imaging suggestive of air trapping, many patients receive a diagnosis of asthma for several years before the correct diagnosis is made. This similarity to other obstructive lung diseases can be explained by the pathologic changes of airway obstruction seen on biopsy. Pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, or Kulchitsky cells, are normally present in small numbers in airways, where they release a myriad of bioactive amines and peptides like serotonin, chromogranin A, gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP), and calcitonin.

Airway obstruction is believed to occur both due to physical obstruction of bronchioles by tumorlets and smooth muscle constriction caused by active mediators released. Bombesin and related peptides like gastrin releasing peptide, neuromedin B and neuromedin C are thought to cause bronchoconstriction indirectly through the release of several other bronchoconstrictors that act on smooth muscle cells (57). However, in vitro studies in guinea pig lungs suggest that bombesin may act directly by binding to specific receptors on smooth muscle cells (58).

Pulmonary neuroendocrine pathology occurs in a spectrum of three forms: hyperplasia, tumorlets and carcinoid tumors. DIPNECH is characterized by proliferation of neuroendocrine cells initially limited to the basement membrane of airways, when disease extends beyond the lumen of airway it is called carcinoid tumorlets. Tumorlets larger than 0.5 cm become carcinoid tumors and appear as nodules on chest CT scans. Diagnosis requires lung biopsy, with a surgical biopsy procedure more likely to provide diagnostic tissue than bronchoscopic transbronchial biopsies.

According to Aguayo`s definition of DIPNECH, patients have pulmonary symptoms with radiographic and physiologic abnormalities suggestive of obstructive lung disease, but in our review 12.2% of patients had no symptoms at all, and 15.5% had normal spirometry. We believe hyperplasia, tumorlets and carcinoid tumors represent different aspects of the same disease, the occurrence of symptoms, radiologic and physiologic airflow limitation depends on the time frame at which diagnosis was made, should those patients be followed up, they could develop symptoms and airflow limitation in the future. Thus, we propose to expand the definition to include patients with no symptoms or spirometry abnormalities. However, it remains uncertain whether asymptomatic patients who are diagnosed at an earlier stage need specific treatment or not.

It is also clinically difficult to establish a causal relationship, or determine the direction of the relationship between pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia and other concomitant lung disorders, or harmful exposures (1,59, 60). In our review 27.2% of patients were active or previous smokers, only one patient lived at high altitude (more than 2000m) (14), 29 patients had a history of previous or current malignancy including 8 lung cancers (not shown in table), 13 patients had evidence of bronchiectasis, and one patient had honeycombing on imaging. These findings are similar to data obtained from individual case reports and series (2, 6, 14, 17, 19, 22, 29, 33, 37, 46, 47 and 53).

When the diagnosis is made, therapeutic options may include observation for mild symptoms, inhaled or systemic steroids, in addition to bronchodilators, especially if patients who show reversible airway obstruction on PFT. Other potential therapies are somatostatin analogues, however more studies are needed to determine their precise role. (27, 29, 43, 46)


DIPNECH is a rare clinical entity that requires a high clinical suspicion. Because of clinical, spirometry, and imaging similarity to other obstructive lung diseases, and the requirement for lung biopsy to make the diagnosis, DIPNECH is probably an under-diagnosed entity, with still limited treatment options. The diagnosis should probably be considered in any patient with difficult to treat obstructive lung disease, unexplained bronchiolitis, particularly if there are multiple small lung nodules present on chest CT scan. We propose to expand the definition of DIPNECH to include patients with even no symptoms or spirometric evidence of airflow limitation, as development of these abnormalities depends on the time frame at which diagnosis is made. It is also difficult to establish a causal relationship with other concomitant lung conditions, the presence of which should not rule out a diagnosis of DIPNECH.


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Cite as: Yamin HS, Hawarri F, Labib M, Massad E, Haddad H. Diffuse idiopathic pulmonary neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia in a patient with multiple pulmonary nodules: case report and literature review. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;15(6):282-93. doi: PDF


Necrotizing Pneumonia: Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Brian D. Skidmore, BS1 and Veronica A. Arteaga, MD2


1College of Medicine and 2Department of Medical Imaging

Banner-University Medical Center

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ USA



We present the case of a patient who was initially diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia that was later discovered to have necrotizing changes. The case illustrates the challenges in diagnosing necrotizing pneumonia and the preferred treatment methods.

Case Presentation

History of Present Illness

The patient is a 51-year old woman who presents with right upper lobe pneumonia and a failed outpatient regimen of levofloxacin. She returned one week after being seen in the emergency department with worsening dyspnea, productive cough, and fever in addition to new symptoms of right chest pain and post-tussive emesis. The chest pain is stabbing in quality and constantly present. She denied any calf pain/swelling, previous history of deep venous thrombosis, or long trips or travels.

Physical Exam

Upon admission, blood pressure was 103/56 with a pulse of 114 and respiratory rate of 18. Her temperature was 38.1 °C (100.5 °F) but spiked at 39.5 °C (103.1 °F) and her SpO2 was 94.0% on room air. Her breathing was unlabored and her lungs were clear to auscultation bilaterally except for crackles in the right upper lung field. The remainder of the exam was unremarkable.

Laboratory and Imaging

A chest radiograph was initially obtained and showed a right upper lobe consolidation consistent with community-acquired pneumonia (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Chest radiograph showing right upper lobe consolidation with possible volume loss.

One week later, a contrast-enhanced chest CT was performed and revealed a heterogeneously enhancing right upper lobe consolidation with cavitation and foci of air diagnostic of necrotizing pneumonia (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Contrast-enhanced chest CT showing right upper lobe pneumonic consolidation with peripheral enhancement, central necrosis, and small foci of air.

Laboratory studies revealed a markedly elevated C-reactive protein of 16.61 mg/dL and a white blood cell count of 18,000 cells/ μL. In addition, the red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit were all reduced with values of 3,390,000 cells/ μL, 10.0 g/dL, and 31.0% respectively.

Hospital Course

A chest CT was ordered and the patient was diagnosed with necrotizing pneumonia. She was given IV vancomycin and piperacillin-tazobactam as empiric therapy. Tylenol was administered for fever management and steroids were deferred because her CURB-65 score for pneumonia severity was 0.

Attention was then given to identifying the infectious agent. Blood and respiratory cultures were obtained and a TB test was ordered. The cultures showed no growth and the TB test was negative. A bronchoalveolar lavage showed a highly neutrophilic cell count, however no pathogen was ever identified.

Given improvement with empiric therapy, during her hospital course she was discharged on oral amoxicillin and clavulanate until follow up with pulmonary in outpatient 6 weeks later. Imaging at that time showed post inflammatory changes and no evidence of infection.


Necrotizing pneumonia is a rare complication of bacterial lung infections affecting 4% of all patients with community-acquired pneumonia (1). The infection can be patchy, segmental, or involve the entire lung. While the pathogenesis of necrotizing pneumonia is not clearly defined, most studies indicate that it is either an inflammatory response to toxins produced by the pathogen or it is the result of associated vasculitis and venous thrombosis. Patients typically present with common symptoms of pneumonia such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain but can also rapidly develop hemoptysis, septic shock, and respiratory failure as the necrosis progresses (2). Because necrotizing pneumonia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, it is important to distinguish it from non-necrotizing cases (3).

The diagnosis of necrotizing pneumonia may be difficult to make because of its similar presentation to non-necrotizing pneumonias and the limitations of standard chest radiographs. Chest radiographs may show an area of consolidation but are limited in identifying the extent of parenchymal disease (Figure 1) (2). Therefore, contrast-enhanced chest CT is an optimal exam for diagnosing necrotizing pneumonia. Disease may first appear as an in-homogeneously enhancing consolidation with focal areas of low attenuation (Figure 2).  Foci of air may subsequently develop in these areas of hypo-enhancing necrotic tissue indicating cavitation (4).

Laboratory studies may also be helpful in diagnosing necrotizing pneumonia. When compared to pneumonias without a necrotizing component, patients with necrotizing pneumonia show more elevated white blood cell counts and inflammatory markers (1). In one study, patients with necrotizing pneumonia had an average WBC count of 14,970/μL, an average ESR of 70 mm/h, and an average CRP of 18.8 mg/dL. Average values for patients with non-necrotizing pneumonia were significantly lower at 10,130/μL, 48 mm/h, and 11.4 mg/dL respectively (p<0.001) (3). These changes are also evident in the presented case with elevated WBC and CRP values of 18,000/μL and 16.61 mg/dL.

Necrotizing pneumonia is initially treated with intravenously administered broad-spectrum antibiotics that should target pathogens that commonly cause necrotizing changes. The most common microbes are Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, however several other bacteria species may also cause necrosis (Table 1) (2).

Transition to oral antibiotics may be considered for patients that show improvement (1). A more focused treatment plan should be initiated once a specific pathogen is identified, however this is only accomplished in approximately 26% of cases (3).

Surgical resection may also be considered for patients who show no progress on antibiotic therapy and continue to decline. However the optimal timing and indications for surgery are not clearly defined. The extent of the resection should always be as conservative as possible and commonly involves debridement or segmentectomy of the damaged tissue. In cases where the parenchyma is extensively affected, lobectomy or pneumonectomy may be required (2).


  1. Nicolaou EV, Bartlett AH. Necrotizing pneumonia. Pediatr Ann. 2017;1;46(2):e65-e68. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. Tsai YF, Ku YH. Necrotizing pneumonia: a rare complication of pneumonia requiring special consideration. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2012;18(3):246-52. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. Seo H, Cha SI, Shin KM, et al. Clinical relevance of necrotizing change in patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Respirology. 2017;22(3):551-8. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. Walker CM, Abbott GF, Greene RE, Shepard JO, Vummidi D, Digumarthy SR. Imaging Pulmonary Infection: Classic Signs and Patterns. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2014;202(3) 479-92. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cite as: Skidmore BD, Arteaga VA. Necrotizing pneumonia: diagnosis and treatment options. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;15(6):274-7. doi: PDF


December 2017 Pulmonary Case of the Month

Lewis J. Wesselius, MD1

Michael B. Gotway, MD2


Departments of 1Pulmonary Medicine and 2Radiology

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ USA


History of Present Illness

A 52-year-old woman from Iowa sought a second opinion for a left hilar mass. She travels to Phoenix regularly to visit family. She began feeling ill in late 2016 with cough and sputum production and was treated with multiple courses of antibiotics without improvement.

PMH, SH and FH

Past medical history is unremarkable. She is a nonsmoker. FH is noncontributory.

Physical Examination

Physical examination was normal.


In March of this year she had chest radiograph in Phoenix which suggested left hilar adenopathy. A thoracic CT scan was performed (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Representative images from the thoracic CT scan in lung windows (A-E) and soft tissue windows (F).

Which of the following are diagnostic considerations? (Click on the correct answer to procced to the second of seven pages)

  1. Lung cancer  
  2. Lymphoma
  3. Sarcoidosis
  4. Tuberculosis
  5. All of the above

Cite as: Wesselius LJ, Gotway MB. December 2017 pulmonary case of the month. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;15(6):232-40. doi: PDF


First Report of Splenic Abscesses Due to Coccidioidomycosis

Shabnam Assar, MDI and Tim Kuberski, MD, FIDSA2

1Department of Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion, Roanoke, Virginia USA

2Department of Medicine, University of Arizona School of Medicine-Phoenix,

Phoenix, Arizona USA



Involvement of the spleen by Coccidioides is uncommon. It is usually associated only with disseminated infection and manifests as microscopic granulomas in the spleen. We report an immunosuppressed dermatomyositis patient who presented with splenic abscesses demonstrated on a computed tomography (CT) scan which was presumed to be bacterial in origin. At splenectomy the spleen was found to be filled with aggregates of spherules due to Coccidioides. Finding large splenic abscesses on CT scan due to Coccidioides has not been previously described. We offer a hypothesis for why the abscesses occurred in this unique patient.


Involvement of the spleen by coccidioidomycosis is usually associated with disseminated disease, however the development of splenic abscesses has not been reported. Splenic involvement by coccidioidomycosis is usually manifest as microscopic miliary splenic granulomas which have been demonstrated at autopsy in patients with disseminated infection (1,2). We report an immunocompromised dermatomyositis patient who was found to have splenic abscesses due to Coccidioides spherules which were diagnosed at splenectomy.

Case Presentation

A 33-year-old Hispanic man with dermatomyositis for five years and a history of disseminated coccidioidomycosis for two years, presented to the emergency room because of left upper quadrant abdominal pain, fever and chills. Treatment of his dermatomyositis was ongoing over the previous five years and included prednisone, azathioprine and courses of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) at doses of 2 g/kg (3). Treatments of his coccidioidomycosis over the previous two years included intravenous liposomal amphotericin B followed by oral fluconazole. The patient would periodically be non-compliant about taking the fluconazole and then experience relapses of his coccidioidomycosis which required additional courses of intravenous liposomal amphotericin B.

Physical Examination and Course: Admission vital signs - temperature 38.40 C; blood pressure 147/81 mmHg; heart rate 106 bpm; respiratory rate 18 breaths/minute and pulse oximetry 90% on room air. There was pigmentation of his face consistent with dermatomyositis, tenderness in the left upper quadrant and significant weakness of all extremities. He was bedridden and could barely move his arms and legs against gravity. His medications on admission were fluconazole and prednisone. An admission CT scan of the abdomen was performed because of the left upper quadrant tenderness and revealed multiple splenic abscesses (Figure 1).

Figure 1. CT scan of abdomen demonstrating splenic abscesses (arrow).

An admission urine culture grew >105 colony forming Klebsiella pneumoniae which was noted on day two of hospitalization. Blood cultures were negative. It was initially believed that the splenic abscesses were due to a Klebsiella infection because of the admitting urine culture results. Prednisone was stopped on admission and the oral fluconazole continued. Piperacillin-tazobactam was started empirically on admission. In addition, IVIG was given for a presumed dermatomyositis exacerbation. On hospital day four his abdominal pain and fevers had not improved. To avoid a splenectomy, a splenic biopsy was performed to determine the cause of the splenic abnormalities. The biopsy was consistent with a Coccidioides infection. A laparoscopic splenectomy was then preformed on hospital day seven.

The pathology on the removed spleen showed multiple necrotizing granulomatous foci containing numerous aggregated Coccidioides spherules (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Pathology of splenic abscesses demonstrating aggregated Coccidioides spherules.

Post-operatively, fluconazole was empirically replaced by voriconazole (4) and the patient was restarted on prednisone for his dermatomyositis. The fever and chills eventually resolved and he was discharged. At four months follow-up he had returned to his usual state and was encouraged to not stop taking the voriconazole.


This patient illustrates an unusual complication of disseminated coccidioidomycosis. Prior to the advent of CT scans, splenic granulomas were described mainly at autopsy in patients with disseminated infection. Splenic involvement at autopsy was described as granulomas due to the invasion of the Coccidioides into the spleen from the blood stream. Usually there was granuloma formation described as microscopic military nodules. Reports of gross Coccidioides abscesses in the spleen have not been described.

We considered the potential reasons for the development of splenic abscesses in this unique patient. His dermatomyositis was present for about five years and the coccidioidomycosis, two years. He had received repeated doses of IVIG for flares of his dermatomyositis prior to, and after, his Coccidioides infection. Investigating his past medical history revealed that he would develop a febrile illness when off fluconazole - usually due to non-compliance. The clinical presentation was consistent with either a relapse of his Coccidioides infection, an exacerbation of his dermatomyositis, or both. The febrile episodes would cause him to be admitted to the hospital, often into the intensive care unit, and then he would receive more IVIG for his dermatomyositis, as well as antifungals. It is known that fungemia occurs in immunosuppressed patients who have significant coccidioidomycosis (5). The fact that he had a large Coccidioides burden in his spleen suggests he likely experienced episodes of fungemia, presumably associated with his poor antifungal compliance.

Our hypothesis for why the abscesses formed in the spleen of this patient is illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Hypothesis of Coccidioides abscess formation in the spleen.

We theorized that Coccidioides endospores in the blood stream became coated with the gamma globulins when he received the IVIG given for his dermatomyositis (6).  The opsonization of the organisms by the IVIG presumably facilitated the spleen to take up viable endospores into the spleen and reticuloendothelial system (Figure 3, part 3). This resulted in the localization of the organisms promoting the formation of an abscess within the spleen (Figure 3, part 4). We suggest that these unusual circumstances of fungemia and IVIG were responsible for facilitating the appearance of abscesses in this patient's spleen.

We believe true splenic abscesses are uncommon with disseminated coccidioidomycosis. The unusual circumstances of this patient's relapsing Coccidioides infection with fungemia (due to poor compliance with antifungals) and the repeated IVIG treatments for his dermatomyositis, combined to provide a reasonable explanation for why splenic abscesses occurred in this patient.


  1. Forbus WD, Bestebreurtje AM. Coccidioidomycosis; a study of 95 cases of the disseminated type with special reference to the pathogenesis of the disease. Mil Surg. 1946 Nov;99(5):653-719. [PubMed]
  2. Fiese MJ. Coccidioidomycosis: Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas 1958; p 111.
  3. Wang DX, Shu XM, Tian XL, Chen F, Zu N, Ma L, Wang GC. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy in adult patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis: a systematic literature review. Clin Rheumatol. 2012 May;31(5):801-6. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. Prabhu RM, Bonnell M, Currier BL, Orenstein R. Successful treatment of disseminated nonmeningeal coccidioidomycosis with voriconazole. Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Oct 1;39(7):e74-7. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Rempe S, Sachdev MS, Bhakta R, Pineda-Roman M, Vaz A, Carlson RW. Coccidioides immitis fungemia: clinical features and survival in 33 adult patients. Heart Lung. 2007 Jan-Feb;36(1):64-71. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. Adkinson NF, Yunginger JW, Busse WW, et al. Middleton's Allergy Principles & Practice (6th ed) Philadelphia, PA: Mosby, 203; 72-73.

Cite as: Assar S, Kuberski T. First report of splenic abscesses due to coccidioidomycosis. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;15(5):214-8. doi: PDF 


November 2017 Pulmonary Case of the Month

Lewis J. Wesselius, MD

Department of Pulmonary Medicine

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ USA


History of Present Illness

A 67-year-old man developed a right neck mass and underwent a right radical neck dissection. It was initially thought to be a high-grade sarcomatoid cancer, but after review was determined to be metastatic melanoma.

Past Medical History, Social History and Family History

He had no significant past medical or family history. He was a nonsmoker.

Physical Examination

His initial physical examination showed a right neck mass but was otherwise unremarkable. No abnormal skin lesions were identified.


A positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scan showed increase uptake in the neck (Figure 1A) but his chest showed no increased uptake (Figure 1B).

Figure 1. Panel A: PET/CT scan showing increased tracer uptake in the right neck (arrow). Panel B: No abnormal tracer uptake is seen within the chest.

Which of the following is/are true? (Click on the correct answer to proceed to the second of four pages)

  1. Bronchoscopy should be performed to search for bronchial melanoma
  2. Radiation and oncology consultation should be obtained
  3. The pathologic diagnosis is likely wrong since no primary melanoma can be identified
  4. 1 and 3
  5. All of the above

 Cite as: Wesselius LJ. November 2017 pulmonary case of the month. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;15(5):181-7. doi: PDF 

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