Acute fibrinous and organizing pneumonitis (AFOP) is an uncommon variant of acute lung injury, characterized by intra-alveolar fibrin and organizing pneumonia. Proposed etiologies include connective tissue diseases, infections, occupational exposure, drug reactions, and autoimmune disease. Here we present a rare case of fungal infection associated AFOP in patient with diabetes mellitus (DM) and review the relevant literature.
A 67-year-old man complained of cough, fever, dyspnea and hemoptysis. Patient experienced a rapidly progressive course exhibit diffuse predominant consolidation, ground glass opacities, and multifocal parenchymal abnormalities on chest computed tomography (CT). Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral treatments were ineffective. A CT-guided percutaneous lung biopsy was performed. Histologically, the predominant findings were as follows: alveolar spaces filled with fibrin and organizing loose connective tissues involving 70% of the observed region, pulmonary interstitial fibrosis, and small abscesses and epithelioid cell granuloma in the focal area. Result of periodic acid-silver methenamine stain was positive. The fungal pathogen from the sputum culture was identified as P. citrinum repeatedly over 3 times. Patient was diagnosed with DM during hospitalization. Corticosteroids combined with an antifungal therapy were effective. Follow-up for 4 months showed complete radiological resolution.
As this common “contaminant” can behave as a pathogen in the immunocompromised host, both clinicians and microbiologists should consider the presence of a serious and potentially fatal fungal infection on isolation of P. citrinum. Based on this case, it could be speculated that AFOP may be associated with fungal infection including P. citrinum.