Histoplasmosis - Diagnosis

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How do physicians diagnose histoplasmosis?

The symptoms and signs of histoplasmosis are not specific enough to establish the diagnosis. The diagnosis rests upon demonstrating the fungus or an immune response to the fungus. Some of the many diagnostic laboratory tests available include the following:

  • Cultures of body fluids or tissues to identify the fungus
  • Detection of surface markers of Histoplasma in a urine test
  • Blood tests to measure antibody response to Histoplasma
  • Microscopic examination of samples of infected tissues

Chest X-rays in people with acute histoplasmosis are usually normal. However, so-called coin lesions or histoplasmomas may be seen in the chest X-ray of people with healed histoplasmosis. These are round accumulations of scar tissue. Calcification of lymph nodes around the bronchi may be evidence of prior healed infections. Depending on the severity and stage of the disease, infiltrates or other changes may be apparent on X-rays.

CT scans are useful to identify areas of spread in disseminated histoplasmosis.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: CADDGUY, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 14

I was diagnosed with histoplasmosis as an early teenager. A routine chest x-ray showed a shadow outside a lung, along the spine, I think. When I joined the Marine Corps in 1966, another chest x-ray showed the same shadow and I was almost discharged before finishing boot camp, before a doctor said that the histoplasmosis would not harm my health as I grew older. Now, many years later, I have shortness of breath and wheezing issues. My Veterans' Affairs pulmonary physician wants another x-ray and a CT scan to test if the calcification is causing some of my health problems.

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Comment from: Neanie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I was diagnosed with histoplasmosis when I went into emergency surgery at 21 when I had a torn aorta from an auto accident. They noticed my lung while doing it and the doctors weren't sure what it was and suspected cancer, so they took half of the left lung out to biopsy.

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