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Invasive Esophageal Candidiasis with Chronic Mediastinal Abscess and Fatal Pneumomediastinum

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Mohammad Reza F. Aghdam, Ståle Sund

Norway Department of Pathology, Førde Central Hospital, Førde, Norway

Am J Case Rep 2016; 17:466-471

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.898053

Available online:

Published: 2016-07-08

BACKGROUND: Invasive candidiasis is a potential problem for patients receiving long-term immunosuppressive treatment. Psoriatic arthritis is one of many chronic diseases that can be successfully treated with immunosuppressive drugs, in spite of a documented and accepted risk for infectious complications. Critical awareness of possible infection must be part of the surveillance of such patients.
CASE REPORT: This is the case of a 68-year-old Norwegian male, treated with long-term immunosuppression for psoriatic arthritis, hospitalized with acute subcutaneous and mediastinal emphysema of unknown cause. He died of acute respiratory failure with circulatory collapse shortly after admission. The autopsy revealed mediastinal and subcutaneous emphysema and a mediastinal abscess containing Candida with probable entrance from the esophagus.
CONCLUSIONS: We consider invasive candidiasis of the esophagus to be the cause of both the chronic abscess and the acute mediastinal emphysema. This case illustrates the importance of awareness of invasive candidiasis as a possible complication in a patient with long-term immunosuppression.

Keywords: Candidiasis, Invasive - microbiology, Abscess - microbiology, Diagnosis, Differential, Esophagitis - microbiology, Fatal Outcome, Mediastinal Emphysema - etiology