• Vol. 33 No. 3, 365–367
  • 15 May 2004

An Unusual Cause of Pulmonary Haemorrhage in a Patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis



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Introduction: Pulmonary haemorrhage is a rare presentation of strongyloides hyperinfection.

Clinical Picture: A 69-year-old female patient with rheumatoid arthritis on methotrexate and prednisolone presented with severe community acquired pneumonia. Intravenous trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (bactrim) and high dose hydrocortisone for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia were commenced. She developed pulmonary haemorrhage 2 weeks later and bronchoalveolar lavage cytology revealed helminthic larvae identified as strongyloides.

Treatment and Outcome: Despite treatment with ivermectin and albendazole with rapid tailing down of hydrocortisone, she succumbed to her illness.

Conclusions: Strongyloides hyperinfection should be considered in an immunocompromised patient on high dose corticosteroid presenting with pulmonary haemorrhage. Prognosis remains dismal as supported by our case report and current literature.

Strongyloides stercoralis is an intestinal nematode which causes a chronic but usually asymptomatic infection in humans. However, in immunocompromised patients, parasitic larvae can develop rapidly and re-invade the host.

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