Laryngotracheal mucormycosis: Report of a case | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Laryngotracheal mucormycosis: Report of a case

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January 22, 2016
by Jillian Mattioni, DO; Joel E. Portnoy, MD; Jaime Eaglin Moore, MD; David Carlson, DO; Robert T. Sataloff, MD, DMA, FACS


Airway mucormycosis is a deadly opportunistic infection that affects immunocompromised persons, particularly diabetics and those undergoing chemotherapy. Although it is typically a pulmonary or sinonasal infection, mucormycosis can affect the larynx and trachea, with devastating results. We report the case of a 46-year-old man with human immunodeficiency virus infection, hepatitis C infection, neurosyphilis, and recently diagnosed Burkitt lymphoma who presented with dysphonia and stridor after receiving one dose of intrathecal chemotherapy. Flexible laryngoscopy detected the presence of fibrinous material that was obstructing nearly the entire glottis. Surgical debridement revealed a firm mucosal attachment; there was little bleeding when it was removed. After debridement, the patient's dyspnea improved only to recur 2 days later. After an awake tracheotomy, laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy identified necrosis extending from the supraglottic area to the carina tracheae. Biopsies demonstrated hyphal architecture consistent with mucormycosis. Despite continued debridements, the fibrinous material reaccumulated. The patient was placed in hospice care; his airway remained patent, but he died from other causes several weeks after presentation. The management of airway mucormycosis is challenging and complex. Fungal airway infections should be considered in the differential diagnosis of an immunosuppressed patient who presents with dyspnea, dysphonia, and vocal fold immobility. Timely diagnosis and management are critical for a successful outcome, although the prognosis is poor if the infection is widespread, even with the best of efforts.

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