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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Spontaneous Pneumothorax After Rupture of the Cavity as the Initial Presentation of Tuberculosis in the Emergency Department

Challenging differential diagnosis, Unusual setting of medical care, Rare coexistence of disease or pathology

Killen H. Briones-Claudett, Mónica H. Briones-Claudett, Alex Posligua Moreno, Domenica Estupiñan Vargas, Marlon E. Martinez Alvarez, Michelle Grunauer

Ecuador Faculty of Medical Sciences, Guayaquil University, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e920393

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.920393

Available online: 2020-02-10

Published: 2020-03-20


BACKGROUND: Spontaneous pneumothorax can be secondary to a wide variety of lung diseases. Spontaneous pneumothorax secondary to pulmonary tuberculosis occurs in rare cases of residual fibrosis with retractions and bullae.
CASE REPORT: We present the case of a 65-year-old male patient from a rural area in the province of Los Ríos in Babahoyo, Ecuador, with no history of contact with tuberculosis. The patient arrived at the Emergency Department of the Regional Hospital of the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social (IESS), Babahoyo, due to acute respiratory failure, preceded by 10 days of evolution due to cough accompanied by greenish expectoration, chest pain, asthenia, and weight loss. On chest radiography, a left pneumothorax and interstitial pulmonary infiltrate were reported. A chest tube was placed, and the patient was intubated and was placed on invasive mechanical ventilation due to severe respiratory failure.
Use of the GeneXpert MTB/RIF System detected Mycobacterium tuberculosis without resistance to rifampicin. Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) staining for the identification of bacillus acid-resistant alcohol was positive in alveolar bronchial lavage.
MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and phenotypic analysis showed the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumonia with carbapenemases resistance mechanism, and the KPC type enzyme was identified. The culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis was positive from the fourth week.
CONCLUSIONS: Secondary pneumothorax due to rupture of the polymicrobial cavity and especially of tuberculous origin is a very special form of acute respiratory failure in patients with previous structural pulmonary lesions in the Emergency Department.

Keywords: Caves, Intensive Care Units, Pneumothorax, tuberculoma