This is the case of a 15-y-old boy who presented with fever and back pain with MRI features of spondylitis. A CT-guided vertebral biopsy showed acute and chronic inflammatory cells and grew Pseudomonas aeruginosa on aerobic culture. The child was treated for 2 wk with antibiotics with no response. Meanwhile, he developed new lung, liver, and splenic lesions on CT imaging. Empiric antitubercular therapy was then started and continued for 8 wk during which time there was progressive clinical deterioration. At this time the patient underwent bronchoscopy with lavage and endoscopic ultrasound-guided subcarinal lymph node and lung biopsy. The Xpert MTB/Rif ULTRA was “trace positive” in the bronchoscopic lavage with indeterminate rifampicin resistance, while it was negative in lymph node and lung biopsy. The lymph node and lung biopsy histopathology showed nonspecific inflammatory changes with no granulomas or malignant cells. In view of the positive Xpert ULTRA with indeterminate rifampicin resistance and no response to first-line drugs, treatment with second-line antitubercular drugs was initiated. The clinical condition continued to deteriorate; here the imaging findings were reviewed again and repeat aspiration cytology and biopsy from intra-abdominal nodes was carried out. This yielded the diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma. The patient had stage IVB disease. He responded well to standard chemotherapy and is currently in remission. The case illustrates the need to avoid empiric therapy, repeat invasive procedures if so needed, choose the site/method of biopsy appropriately and interpret results of investigations carefully when evaluating a patient with pyrexia of unknown origin.
© 2021. Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation.