Central nervous system aspergillosis misdiagnosed as Toxoplasma gondii encephalitis in a patient with AIDS: a case report
AIDS Res Ther. 2022 Sep 8;19(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s12981-022-00468-x.
BACKGROUND: Patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) tend to suffer from several central nervous system (CNS) infections due to hypoimmunity. However, CNS aspergillosis (CNSAG) is extremely rare and difficult to diagnose. Thus, it is easily misdiagnosed.
CASE PRESENTATION: We reported a 47-year-old male AIDS patient with ghosting vision and anhidrosis on the left head and face. He was accordingly diagnosed with Toxoplasma gondii encephalitis (TE) at other hospitals, for which he received regular anti-Toxoplasma gondii and anti-human immunodeficiency virus (anti-HIV) treatment. Then, the patient was transferred to our hospital due to a lack of any improvement with the prescribed treatment. The patient’s neurological examination revealed no abnormalities at admission, only a slight change in the cerebrospinal fluid. His cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed multiple abnormal signals in the brain parenchyma, and his blood was positive for Toxoplasma gondii IgG antibody. The initial diagnosis at our hospital was also TE. Considering the poor efficacy of anti-TE treatment, cerebrospinal fluid metagenomics next-generation sequencing (mNGS) was performed, but no pathogenic bacteria were detected. However, Aspergillus fumigatus was detected in the cerebrospinal fluid via targeted next-generation sequencing (tNGS) and bronchoalveolar alveolar lavage fluid via mNGS. The diagnosis was accordingly revised to CNSAG combined with his other clinical manifestations. After administering voriconazole antifungal therapy, the patient’s symptoms were relieved, with improved absorption of the intracranial lesions.
CONCLUSIONS: The present case experience indicates the need for clinicians to strengthen their understanding of CNSAG. Moreover, for patients with diagnostic difficulties, early mNGS and tNGS (using biological samples with only a few pathogens) are helpful for early diagnosis and treatment, potentially allowing patients to achieve favorable outcomes.