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Severe fungal infections caused by highly invasive fungi such as Aspergillus are not easy to diagnose and often have a poor prognosis. In these cases, the nonspecific symptoms may make clinical diagnosis challenging, and consequently, the autopsy and postmortem histological investigations acquire a crucial role. We report the case of a young man in good health who died of septic shock 3 weeks after having had a tongue piercing. Intravitam investigations did not identify the etiology of the rapidly fatal infectious condition. The autopsy revealed flaccid organs of uniformly diminished consistency with abscesses and granulomatous foci with central necrosis. Histological examination showed the presence of septate mycotic hyphae, with a dichotomous 45-degree bifurcation, typical for Aspergillus, in all the examined organs, including the tongue. The molecular identification confirmed the presence of Aspergillus fumigatus. The observed macroscopic framework and the laboratory findings made it possible to diagnose pseudomembranous invasive tracheobronchial aspergillosis and to attribute the death to fatal invasive disseminated aspergillosis. The consistency and concordance of all the findings in our possession led us to suspect the practice of piercing as the triggering cause of the man's pathology.Copyright © 2022 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Stefano Tambuzzi, Guendalina Gentile, Salvatore Andreola, Riccardo Zoja. Postmortem Diagnosis of Invasive Disseminated Aspergillosis After Tongue Piercing. The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology. 2022 Jun 14

PMID: 35703209

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