Sequential bilateral lung resection in a patient with Mycobacterium abscessus lung disease refractory to medical treatment

Seung Heon Lee, Joo-Won Min, Sang-Won Um, Seon-Sook Han, Sung Koo Han, Young-Soo Shim, Jae-Joon Yim
Yonsei Medical Journal 2010, 51 (1): 141-4
Mycobacterium abscessus (M. abscessus) is the second most common nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in South Korea. Nevertheless, the diagnosis and treatment of M. abscessus lung disease can be problematic. Surgical resection has been tried for patients with localized M. abscessus lung disease refractory to medical treatment. Here, we report on a 25-year-old woman with M. abscessus lung disease who had been diagnosed and treated three times for pulmonary tuberculosis. She was initially diagnosed as having M. intracellulare lung disease; however, M. abscessus was isolated after several months of medication. She had multiple bronchiectatic and cavitary lesions bilaterally, and M. abscessus was repeatedly isolated from her sputa despite prolonged treatment with clarithromycin, ethambutol, moxifloxacin, and amikacin. She improved only after sequential bilateral lung resection. Based on the experience with this patient, we suggest that, if medical treatment fails, surgical resection of a diseased lung should be considered even in patients with bilateral lesions.

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