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Fibrosing mediastinitis (FM), which is also known as mediastinal fibrosis or sclerosing mediastinitis, is an uncommon, benign and progressive condition. What is Fibrosing Mediastinitis? Medistinal fibrosis is the common, but most severe, late complication of Histoplasmosis. Many Physicians believe mediastinal. Idiopathic Fibrosing Mediastinitis. Questions posed and edited by Candace McIntosh and Lucille Enix Reponses by James Loyd, M.D.. What are the symptoms.

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The mortality of post fibrpsing FM is substantial in individuals who have critical structures obstructed in both lungs. If the scar tissue in FM is localized, surgical resection has been used rarely, but is high risk and appropriate for very few patients. CT scan is the best modality to show calcification, to help distinguish the post Histoplasmosis form of FM which usually has calcification, from the Idiopathic proliferative form of FM which is usually mediwstinitis calcified.

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Impairment of the immune system is usually manifested as excessive infections. A follow-up report described a response of PET scan activity to rituximab, a monoclonal antibody treatment that decreases B lymphocytes, in a pilot trial in 3 FM patients Westerly Targeting B lymphocytes in progressive fibrosing mediastinitis.

My experience with Histo-related FM suggests that it is uncommon for it to progress further after patients develop symptoms and the diagnosis is made. Medistinal fibrosis is the common, but most severe, late complication of Histoplasmosis. The current widespread use of CT of the chest has greatly improved detection and diagnosis of FM.

I have not seen any patient whose FM disappeared after treatment. Are chemotherapy and radiation ever used and, if so, under what circumstances? In Idiopathic FM, prednisone or similar medications seem to help some patients, so they are reasonable to try in most patients. Loyd, MD Rudy W.

In the very few patients with FM that received radiation therapy, it was usually because they were thought to have cancer at the time. Typically, people with fibrosing mediastinitis were originally infected with H. Thyroid disease is common in the general population, so it would be expected to also be common in patients with FM. Currently there are no drugs identified that will stop the histoplasmosis-related fibrous tissue from growing.


They may also have fibrosis elsewhere in the body which may cause symptoms at those other sites. There is no evidence that there is a preferred ethnic origin or gender disparity.

In selected patients with idiopathic FM which causes wheezing and cough, these medications may be helpful. Both prednisone and imuran may increase the risk of infection. Inbird droppings swept from the roof of a courthouse in Arkansas were distributed through the building by window air-conditioners. There are no proven causes of Idiopathic FM. It is not known why some individuals are predisposed to excessive immune response to the organism, which leads to excessive scarring and obstruction of major vessels or airways that characterizes FM.

Many physicians believe fibrosing mediastinitis to be the result of an abnormal immunologic response to antigens released by the soil-based fungus histoplasma capsulatum.

What causes the cough and shortness of breath experienced by many Idiopathic FM sufferers? FM is on pg When structures of only one lung are blocked, it can cause pain or coughing blood, but most patients do reasonably well long-term, as long as the contralateral lung has no problem.

If so, is the treatment ongoing or finite?

Fibrosing Mediastinitis | FAQ

When FM patients cough blood, catheterization mediatsinitis the aorta to perform bronchial artery embolization is effective to block the arteries that are the source of bleeding in most patients. Superior vena cava syndrome, the swelling that develops in some patients due to obstruction of the vena cava, is a common symptom. When scar has developed in a major vessel to the extent that it restricts blood flow to or from a fibroxing, the decreased blood flow may cause lung infarction, with pain of pleurisy.

In the endemic area, along the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, nearly mediasfinitis persons are infected in childhood. Obviously it must have progressed at an earlier time to have caused the obstruction of vessels or airways, but the time course is unknown.


Although the fungus resides in the soil, and the fungus is fertilized by bird droppings, birds are not themselves infected.

Symptoms of the following disorders can be similar to, or caused by, fibrosing mediastinitis.

Idiopathic FM can have any or all of the symptoms listed above. Patients with idiopathic fibrosing mediastinitis may present symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, shortness of breath, cough and chest pain. All drugs have complications in some patients. Seminars in Respiratory Infections. Imuran azathioprine may cause hepatitis inflamed liverpancreatitis, low white blood cell count. Compression of the superior vena cava may cause swelling of face or arms, and enlargement of the veins on the chest.

Accordingly, there are two types of fibrosing mediastinitis; histoplasmosis-related fibrosing mediastinitis, and idiopathic fibrosing fibeosing which may have multiple causes unrelated to histoplasmosis. If the patient has occlusion of the vena cava and there are collateral veins that have developed, the superior mediastinum may be widened on imaging studies.

Five of the people whom we have contacted were originally diagnosed as having a lymphoma. Calcification of the infected lymph nodes is typical, but may require years to develop. General Discussion Fibrosing mediastinitis is the least common, but the most severe, late complication of histoplasmosis. Idiopathic fibrossing mediastinitis has not been well studied, but appears to rarely be life threatening.

I have seen a few patients with Idiopathic FM who had some decrease in the amount of abnormal fibrosin, associated with improvement in symptoms, after treatment with prednisone or tamoxifen or both.