Tuberculosis and phrenic nerve destruction

Dempers, Johan J. ; Bezuidenhout, Juanita ; Schneider, Johann W. ; Janse van Rensburg, Michèle (Health and Medical Publishing Group (HMPG), 2007-08)

Article

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Phrenic nerve palsy (PNP) is often associated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis-related expansile pneumonia, possibly because of nerve entrapment by healing fibrosis. Mohan and Jayaswal1 postulated that pressure on the left phrenic nerve by an enlarged hilar lymph node caused unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis in a 6-year-old boy who developed PNP during the course of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Gie et al. described 6 childhood cases of PTB complicated by unilateral PNP. The children did not recover on antituberculosis drugs and steroids, or in 1 case, after surgical decompression. Therefore the theory of glandular compression alone does not adequately account for PNP as a complication of PTB. Our case, in which the fate of the phrenic nerve was confirmed, provides strong evidence that destruction of the phrenic nerve by the tuberculous inflammatory process is involved in the pathogenesis of diaphragmatic paralysis, which may influence the clinical management of these children.

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