40-year-old man with headaches and dyspnea  

1: Brain Pathol. 2005 Jan;15(1):89-90, 95.

July 2004: 40-year-old man with headaches and dyspnea.

Lane H, Browne L, Delanty N, Neill SO, Thornton J, Brett FM.

A 40-year-old man had a 6-week history of severe frontal headaches and dry cough. Chest x-ray showed hilar adenopathy with bilateral parenchymal infiltrates. A diagnosis of atypical pneumonia was made. Four weeks later he was admitted with persistent headache. Infectious screen was negative. Brain MR post contrast, revealed cerebellar enhancement and swelling with moderate tonsillar herniation; findings which precluded the performance of a lumbar puncture. High resolution CT thorax confirmed hilar abnormalities; shown by microscopy to represent non caseating granulomata. A presumptive diagnosis of sarcoidosis was reached. Despite an initial symptomatic improvement his headache persisted. Repeat MRI, eleven days after admission, showed reduced cerebellar enhancement and swelling with no change in the degree of tonsillar herniation. He deteriorated acutely and died two weeks after admission. Autopsy revealed cerebral oedema with tonsillar herniation secondary to cryptococcal meningitis variety neoformans. There was no evidence of neurosarcoid. Active and inactive sarcoid was identified in the lungs and hilar nodes with no evidence of systemic sarcoid. Focal evidence of cryptococcal pneumonitis was present in the lung as a necrotic focus. A strong index of clinical suspicion is necessary to diagnose the rare association of cryptococcus complicating sarcoidosis.