Lege Artis Medicinae

[WEGENER’S GRANULOMATOSIS PRESENTING AS MASTOIDITIS: A DIAGNOSTIC CHALLENGE]

NAGY Pál, SZABÓ László, DOMJÁN Gyula, GADÓ Klára, BALOGH Károly

JULY 20, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(07)

[INTRODUCTION - Wegener's granulomatosis has an uncertain pathomechanism, but is probably autoimmune in origin. In typical cases the mucosa of the nose, paranasal sinuses and of the lower respiratory tract, as well as the lungs and the kidneys are affected. Patients present with sinusitis, recurrent pneumonia or renal disease associated with microhaematuria, pyuria or azotaemia. Fever, polyarthralgia or polyarthritis may also occur. The underlying pathologic changes are necrotizing vasculitis, granulomas and parenchymal necrosis. The diagnosis is based on a combination of the clinical picture, microscopic findings and immunofluorescent demonstration of cANCA. CASE REPORT - A 27-year-old woman presented with symptoms of unilateral mastoiditis. In the following 7 months she underwent 7 operations in 4 hospitals for a locally progressive, destructive process of uncertain etiology showing a septic course. The clinical picture was not specific, the cANCA test was not definitive, and the histologic findings were initially interpreted as nonspecific inflammation. Repeated biopsies, multiple reviews of the microscopic specimens, consultations, differential diagnostic considerations, and, finally, the success of the treatment with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide led to the diagnosis of Wegener’s granulomatosis. Currently the patient has been in remission for 32 months. CONCLUSION - The definitive diagnosis of Wegener’s granulomatosis, particularly of its localized or limited form, may be problematic despite well-defined diagnostic criteria. Setting up the correct diagnosis may take months or years. In case of unusual respiratory or otological symptoms, and in view of ineffective medical or surgical treatment, Wegener’s granulomatosis has to be considered. An atypical clinical picture, inconclusive histologic, radiologic and laboratory findings warrant the need for close collaboration of various specialists. This is particularly important since state-of-the-art therapy of Wegener’s granulomatosis promises a favourable prognosis.]

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