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Friday 17 February 2006

[Fire-eater's lung. Two cases and review of the literature]

By: Lampert S, Schmid A, Wiest G, Hahn EG, Ficker JH.

Dtsch Med Wochenschr 2006 Feb 17;131(7):319-22

HISTORY AND ADMISSION FINDINGS: Two men were hospitalized (three years apart) after aspirating petroleum on their fist attempt at "fire-eating". Pt.1 (aged 25 years) complained of chest pain, dyspnea and dizziness. The other (Pt. 2; aged 29 years) had a hemoptysis. Pt. 1 had a normal body temperature, but the breath sounds were decreased over the left base. The breath sounds in Pt. 2 were normal, but he had a fever of 38.8 degrees C. Routine physical examination was unremarkable. INVESTIGATIONS: Laboratory tests in both patients revealed increased inflammatory parameters. Chest radiographs showed that Pt. 1 had a left basal alveolar infiltrate, while Pt. 2 had an infiltrate in the right middle and upper lobe, which on computed tomography after a few days showed signs of cavitation in the left infrahilar region and the middle lobe, respectively. Pneumococci were found in the sputum of Pt. 2. TREATMENT AND COURSE: Both patients were given antibiotics, Pt. 1 also had salbutamol inhalation treatment. The patients were discharged symptom-free after 8 and 10 days, respectively. A follow-up chest radiograph four weeks later in Pt. 1 merely showed streaky-fibrotic residues. CONCLUSION: These two case reports and detailed literature search indicate that immediate administration of antibiotics is important, while routine steroid treatment is not necessary.

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