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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Recurrence of Disseminated Mycobacterium avium intracellulare Presenting as Spondylodiscitis and Epidural Abscess in a Patient with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis

Michael S. Wang, Nicholas M. Frazier, Rhonda Griffiths, Christian W. Sikorski, Richard W. Douce

USA Department of Medicine, Spectrum Health Lakeland, Saint Joseph, MI, USA

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e931595

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.931595

Available online: 2021-06-29

Published: 2021-08-09


BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium avium intracellulare complex (MAI) is a member of the non-tuberculous mycobacteria family, which can cause both pulmonary and non-pulmonary disease. In patients with advanced HIV, it is known to cause disseminated disease. We present a case of a 65-year-old man who has sex with men (MSM) with AIDS, found to have spondylodiscitis and an epidural abscess, who had recently completed treatment for disseminated MAI.
CASE REPORT: The patient was a 65-year-old with AIDS secondary to HIV and a prior history of disseminated MAI, who presented with severe back pain. Upon presentation to the hospital, an MRI was performed, which was suggestive of spondylodiscitis and an epidural abscess. He was taken to surgery for a minimally invasive T12-L1 laminectomy and evacuation of the epidural abscess. Both traditional cultures and acid-fast bacillus (AFB) cultures were negative. Due to worsening pain, he was taken back to surgery for a repeat debridement and biopsy. Repeat cultures were positive for MAI. He was started on rifabutin, ethambutol, azithromycin, and moxifloxacin. Moxifloxacin was subsequently discontinued. He has had problems tolerating the treatment regimen, but is planned to complete an 18-24-month course.
CONCLUSIONS: For patients with AIDS who have a diagnosis of spondylodiscitis and an epidural abscess, an opportunistic infection such as MAI should be considered. A repeat biopsy should be considered if suspicion is still high, even despite initially negative cultures. Treatment regimens should be prolonged, despite difficulty with medication compliance.

Keywords: Epidural Abscess, HIV, Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous