Observation |

Isolated Central Nervous System Histoplasmosis Presenting With Ischemic Pontine Stroke and Meningitis in an Immune-Competent Patient

Frederic N. Nguyen, MD; Jitesh K. Kar, MD, MPH; Asma Zakaria, MD; Mya C. Schiess, MD
JAMA Neurol. 2013;70(5):638-641. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.1043.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Importance Histoplasmosis, a systemic mycosis caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, primarily affects immune-suppressed patients and commonly involves the lung and rarely the central nervous system (CNS). Herein, we report a case of isolated CNS histoplasmosis presenting with pontine stroke and meningitis.

Observations A 35-year-old, white, immune-competent man was transferred from an outside facility with worsening dysarthria and confusion after having presented 4 weeks prior with dysarthria, gait ataxia, and bilateral upper extremity weakness. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed bilateral pontine strokes, and the working diagnosis was ischemic infarctions, presumed secondary to small vessel vasculitis. Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) examination showed marked abnormalities including an elevated protein level (320 mg/dL), low glucose level (2 mg/dL), and high white blood cell count (330/mm3; 28% lymphocytes, 56% neutrophils, and 16% monocytes) suggestive of a bacterial, fungal, or tuberculosis meningitis. Empirical antibiotics and a second trial of intravenous steroids were started before infectious etiologies of meningitis were ultimately ruled out. Repeated magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed no evidence of new ischemic lesions. On hospital day 11, results of his CSF Histoplasma antigen and urine antigen tests were positive. His CSF culture also was positive for H capsulatum. The patient was treated initially with liposomal amphotericin B, 430 mg daily, but changed to voriconazole, 300 mg twice daily, secondary to renal insufficiency and eventually continued treatment with itraconazole cyclodextrin, 100 mg twice daily. Computed tomographic imaging revealed obstructive hydrocephalus, and a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed that successfully decompressed the ventricles. At 1 year, the patient demonstrated good clinical improvement and results of follow-up CSF cultures were negative.

Conclusions and Relevance While pulmonary involvement of histoplasmosis in immune-suppressed patients is common, systemic presentation of this fungal infection in immune-competent patients is rare and self-limiting. Isolated CNS histoplasmosis is exceedingly rare. Clinicians should consider CNS histoplasmosis in the differential diagnosis in atypical stroke cases, particularly those presenting with meningitis.

Figures in this Article

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours


Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Graphic Jump Location

Figure. Brain images demonstrating acute bilateral pontine infarctions and hydrocephalus. A, Diffusion-weighted image. B, Corresponding apparent diffusion coefficient image. C, T2-weighted fluid-attenuated inversion recovery image. D, Computed tomography brain image at 4 weeks (preshunting) demonstrating hydrocephalus.




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles