Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Mold in the lungs???
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Mold in the lungs???

My sister in law is currently in the hospital. She was admitted due to difficulty breathing. She has been undergoing testing lately to find out if her lung cancer (10 yrs ago) had returned. The results seem inconclusive right now. The pet scan shows yes- the biopsy shows no but the doctor thinks its a yes.
So--she was admitted, they felt she had some kind of infection but had no idea what. She was given potassium and several bags of antibiotics and steroids. The next thing we know she is in ICU on a ventilator!
A biopsy was finally done last week and now she is being told she has a hole in her lung (???)  and it has mold growing around it. They say she is too weak for any type of surgery that could possibly remove the area. She's told that antibiotics will not be strong enough and the medication she needs is too expensive.
How does one get mold on their lungs? Can it be removed or treated? Is she contagious? (she lives with her daughter and infant)  The inofrmation I keep finding online deals with mold in the home not the body. Please help if possible.
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The term mold is frequently used when, what persons are really referring to, is a fungus.  Many fungi are ubiquitous and can infect the lung, more often in persons whose immune system is compromised but frequently, as well, in healthy individuals.  Having a recurrence of lung cancer is usually not associated with fungal infections.  Individuals with pulmonary fungal infections are almost never infectious.

Fungi in the lung are found in two major categories:  invasive and non-invasive.  They can cause pneumonia or lung abcess (abscess) (the 'hole').  When invasive they are treated with anti-fungal drugs, many of which are not expensive (especially if life-saving) but sometimes these drugs must be combined with surgery to remove the infected area. The biopsy should reveal the organism involved in this infection.

The information provided suggests that if there is to be any hope of recovery, this lady will have to be treated with an anti-fungal drug.  Her doctors are in the best position to determine her risk of surgery.  Depending on the location of this lesion, it might be possible remove it through a small incision, with video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS).  This does require general anesthesia and that might be too great a risk.

The best thing to do would be to seek consultation with an Infectious Disease Specialist, who could direct medical therapy and help assess the question of surgery vs. no surgery.

Good luck
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