A previously healthy 70-year-old woman developed fever, cough, and exertional dyspnea. Her symptoms progressed over a 2-month period despite treatment by her primary care physician with 2 courses of oral antibiotics and the addition of prednisone. Hypoxemia and the finding of hyperglycemia with mild ketoacidosis led to hospital admission. Serial chest radiographs demonstrated diffuse heterogeneous pulmonary opacities and progressive air trapping in the right lower lobe. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy revealed a deep penetrating ulcer with exposed bronchial cartilage of the bronchus intermedius and dynamic airway obstruction with complete closure during expiration. Biopsy of the ulcer revealed Rhizopus arrhizus. Respiratory failure stabilized with the patient on conventional mechanical ventilation and receiving amphotericin B. Before surgery could be performed, Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia and septic shock developed, and the patient died.
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