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June 2017


Scedosporium prolificans is an emerging fungal pathogen that can cause significant morbidity, and even mortality, in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent patients. Approximately 10% of patients affected by this rare fungal pathogen present with septic osteomyelitis or arthritis. Overall, the rate of mortality is close to 50%, and several patients with orthopedic infections have required amputations.1 Our patient is a 59-year-old woman, with a history of rheumatoid arthritis requiring immunosuppressants, who presented with a 5-month history of right wrist pain and swelling. She described an oscillating course of swelling, erythema, and pain involving the dorsal aspect of her wrist that did not show sustained response to antibiotics or a radiocarpal joint steroid injection given by other providers. On initial examination, she was afebrile with dorsal wrist swelling. There was no erythema, but wrist mobility was limited. She had tenderness throughout the wrist, but no fluctuance or drainage. All initial laboratory work was normal. Right wrist X-ray showed severe osteopenia with some mild evidence of cortical erosion. Despite the normal laboratory values, her presenting findings of swelling, radiographic erosions, and immunocompromised state prompted concern for atypical septic arthritis. The patient subsequently underwent wrist exploration for tissue and culture harvest. In addition to extensive wrist synovectomy, the proximal pole of the scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, capitate, hamate, and metacarpal bases all showed evidence of necrosis that required debridement. One week later, her fluid aspirate and bone cultures unexpectedly grew an unidentified fungal species, and she was taken back to the operating room for further debridement and placement of a voriconazole-impregnated cement spacer. The culture grew pan-resistant Scedosporium prolificans, and based on recommendations from Rheumatology and Infectious Disease, the patient was started on a 6-week course of intravenous micafungin, and immunosuppressive medications were stopped. She returned to the operating room for debridement and serial treatments with polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) irrigation until intraoperative tissue cultures showed no growth. PHMB is an antiseptic medication that has been described as a local adjunct to the treatment of resistant fungal infections.2–4 After successful eradication of her infection, she underwent wrist reconstruction and fusion with a double-barrel free fibula osteocutaneous flap. She is now 18 months out from her reconstruction, has healed uneventfully, and has a functional, painless upper extremity.


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