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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.

Return to Histoplasmosis

See what others are saying

Comment from: jerter, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: September 07

I was diagnosed with histoplasmosis in January 2017. I was coughing blood uncontrollably and had 5 bronchoscopies in one month. I was diagnosed with calcified nodes in bronchial tubes. There was nothing they could do for me. They tried to cauterize the nodes but that didn't work. I still occasionally bleed. I have dry cough, aches and pains and shortness of breath. I was also diagnosed with atrial fibrillation several years ago. I was on Coumadin until bleeding started so I couldn't take anything to thin blood. I try to get along best I can. I am on oxygen at night and if I get very short of breath during the day. I keep on doing want needs to be done around the house so life goes on. Thank you for letting me vent!

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Comment from: tina, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 11

I went for a routine chest x-ray and a spot showed up in upper right lung. I had upper right lobe removed and then they determined it was histoplasmosis and not cancer.

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Comment from: Brenda, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 10

I was diagnosed with histoplasmosis after being treated for 4 months for bacterial pneumonia. I was hospitalized twice in that time, once in septic shock. I was finally given a bronchoscopy which determined pneumonia was fungal, not bacterial.

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