Neuromyelitis optica and concomitant pulmonary tuberculosis:
Concomitant diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disease and pulmonary tuberculosis has rarely been reported.

Authors report a case involving a young Tunisian male patient who developed dry cough followed, 2 months later, by weakness in the lower limbs. The findings of central nervous system imaging and anti-aquaporin-4 antibody positivity were compatible with the diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disease. Constellation of the clinical and the typical radiological pulmonary findings in this patient, coming from an endemic region, allowed the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis, although sputum smear examination for acid-fast bacilli and cultures was negative.

The patient received anti-tuberculous polytherapy associated with immunomodulation, consisting of methylprednisolone and intravenous immunoglobulins. Pulmonary infection symptoms initially improved but with no motor recovery. The patient suddenly died at home 4 months after the onset of the first symptoms. Current data regarding the clinical presentation of this underreported concomitant or associated condition, the possible pathophysiological mechanisms, and the therapeutic options were reviewed.

Conclusively, this case underscores the necessity to understand the exact mechanism of these coincident entities and to clarify the best immunomodulatory choice since immunosuppression targeting neuromyelitis optica spectrum disease can lead to dissemination of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Source: https://jmedicalcasereports.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13256-021-03002-1
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