Mycobacterium abscessus lung disease in a patient with previous pulmonary tuberculosis

Duan Hongfei, Huang Xuerui, Wang Jing, Chu Naihui
Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 2012, 43 (4): 959-63
Patients with pre-existing lung damage, such as due to pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), are susceptible to nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections. For patients with previous PTB, it is difficult to differentiate NTM lung disease from PTB, especially in tuberculosis (TB) high-burdened countries. Here, we report a case of Mycobacterium abscessus lung disease with a previous history of PTB. The patient underwent a right upper lobe lobectomy due to disappointing treatment response with anti-tuberculosis therapy. However, the disease worsened after the surgery. Five years later, she was diagnosed with M. abscessus lung disease. Successive computed tomography (CT) scans showed the progressing features of M. abscessus lung disease. This patient had multiple micronodules adjacent to the pleura with a positive culture for NTM. Bilateral bronchiectasis without lobar predominance are valuable features for distinguishing M. abscessus lung disease from other mycobacterial lung disease.

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