Fatal Aspergillus myocarditis following short-term corticosteroid therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Scand J Infect Dis. 2002;34(3):224-7. doi: 10.1080/00365540110077407.


A 58-y-old man with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was admitted for treatment of an acute exacerbation of his illness. The patient's condition initially improved after therapy with oxygen, bronchodilators, antibiotic and methylprednisolone (40 mg every 8 h) was started. Soon afterwards, however, the patient's clinical status deteriorated and he died on the fifth hospital day. Post-mortem examination revealed unsuspected, isolated fungal myocarditis. The fungus was later identified as Aspergillus by indirect immunofluorescence. To our knowledge, this is the first case of fatal Aspergillus myocarditis related to short-term (< 1 week) steroid therapy in a COPD patient. We believe that this case provides further evidence to support the possibility of life-threatening infections in COPD patients who receive even a short course of corticosteroid treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspergillus*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Methylprednisolone / adverse effects
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoses / complications
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Myocarditis / complications*
  • Myocarditis / microbiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Methylprednisolone