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Improving outcomes in rhinocerebral mucormycosis - early diagnostic pointers and prognostic factors

  • M. Dhiwakar (a1), A. Thakar (a1) and S. Bahadur (a1)

Abstract

Rhinocerebral mucormycosis is an uncommon, rapidly progressive, highly fatal sinus infection, usually occurring in immunocompromised hosts. We describe our clinical experience with nine such consecutive cases managed at our centre, with emphasis on identifying early diagnostic and prognostic features. Perinasal cellulitis/paraesthesia was the most frequent early clinical sign of disease, being evident in at least six cases. Periorbital oedema, mucopurulent rhinorrhoea and nasal crusting were the other early manifestations. Concurrent computed tomography (CT) scan at this initial stage however revealed only minimal mucosal thickening of the sinuses in all four cases wherein it was done. Intracranial extension as evident on CT was the only adverse prognostic sign (p<0.05). The present report highlights the importance of early diagnosis and prompt institution of antifungal chemotherapy in ensuring a favourable outcome in rhinocerebral mucormycosis. However, initial CT is frequently near-normal and biopsy time-consuming and often not feasible. To optimize early diagnosis therefore, the clinician should be highly alert to certain subtle clinical signs, in the appropriate setting of an immunocompromised patient.

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