Vol 4 No 8
  • Tjitske Berends-De Vries, Susan Boerma, Joan Doornabal, Bert Dikkeschei, Coen Stegeman, Thiemo Veneman

    A young male patient with rapidly progressive and life-threatening pulmonary haemorrhage due to anti-glomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) antibody disease without renal involvement repeatedly tested negative for serum anti-GBM antibodies. Although rare, anti-GBM antibody disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis in patients with life-threatening pulmonary haemorrhage due to isolated diffuse alveolar haemorrhage. Enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing for anti-GBM antibodies in anti-GBM antibody disease can give false-negative results. A negative serum anti-GBM antibody test is therefore insufficient to exclude the diagnosis. Thus, a kidney or lung biopsy should be considered in any case with a high clinical suspicion but negative anti-GBM antibody test to confirm or rule out the diagnosis.

  • Eilis McCarthy, Muneeb Mustafa, Mike Watts

    Granulomatosis with polyangitiis (GPA) is a systemic small and medium vessel vasculitis, commonly associated with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs). Presenting signs and symptoms in GPA are varied and patients may present with constitutional, non-specific symptoms, which can delay the diagnosis. Tissue biopsy of the site of active disease can confirm the diagnosis of GPA, in which necrotising granulomatous inflammation is seen. However, surrogate markers may be used for diagnosis without a tissue biopsy. They include upper and lower airway symptoms, signs of glomerulonephritis and a positive ANCA. However, approximately 10–20% of patients with GPA are ANCA negative, allowing for the diagnosis to be overlooked, particularly in those patients with non-specific findings. The reason for the absence of ANCAs is unclear.

  • Marco Enzo Tau, Melissa Cocca

    A healthy 44-year-old man, with a typical presentation of exertional heatstroke, presented with an increase in serum procalcitonin (PCT) levels. Suspecting a coexisting infection, the emergency physician started empirical antibiotic treatment and obtained samples for culture. The antibiotic treatment was stopped immediately after ward admission due to lack of signs of infection. The patient recovered completely after several days of rehydrating therapy and cultures remained negative for bacterial growth. PCT elevation is typically found with heatstroke, but this association is rarely found in daily practice due to the futility of PCT testing in this situation. Increased serum PCT levels in the context of heatstroke must not lead to an unsupported alternative diagnosis and useless investigations, tests and treatment.

  • Sara Ferreira, Paula Vaz-Marques

    Tuberculosis remains a concern in patients receiving anti-TNF therapy as these individuals have a higher incidence of extrapulmonary and disseminated tuberculosis. Tuberculous tonsillitis is an unusual presentation of extrapulmonary tuberculosis, which is diagnosed mostly in immunodeficient patients. We report the case of a 33-year-old woman, diagnosed with Behçet’s syndrome, immunosuppressed with adalimumab, cyclosporine and prednisolone. She had odynophagia for 2 weeks, fever and a hypertrophied, ulcerated left tonsil. A tonsil biopsy revealed a granulomatous inflammatory process. Ziehl-Neelsen staining was positive for acid-fast bacilli. The chest x-ray revealed a milliary pattern. Gastric juice was positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex DNA. A diagnosis of tonsillar and pulmonary tuberculosis was established. This case report highlights the low threshold for a tuberculosis diagnosis in unusual locations in patients treated with anti-TNF therapy. 

  • Martin Edward Perry, Shazmeen Surtee, Zainab Nawaz

    We describe a 40-year-old lady who presents with a painful white tongue on exposure to the cold. The differential diagnosis and investigations are outlined with a discussion about this unusual presentation of a common problem.

  • Chiao-Ching Li, Chiao-Zhu Li, Sheng-Tang Wu, Tai-Lung Cha, Shou-Hung Tang

    A 71-year-old man presented with spondylodiscitis with epidural and psoas muscle abscesses following transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided prostate biopsy. These rare complications were detected by computed tomography of the abdomen and magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine. The patient was successfully treated with antibiotics and underwent neurosurgery. Awareness of presentations such as backache and weakness of the lower limbs after prostate biopsy is important as these symptoms are usually mistaken for bone or muscle problems and often not recognized as being related to infection.