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2022 Aug 03

Mil Med

Recognizing a Mediastinal Mass: A Case of Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma With Pruritus in a 23-Year-Old Adult Male Sailor.


Kolberg C, Doman E, Mignano S, Mullikin D, Vasta L, Wadzinski W, Foster B
Mil Med. 2022 Aug 03.
PMID: 35932188.


Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) is a rare, non-Hodgkin, B-cell lymphoma thought to originate from thymic B cells, which occurs primarily in young adults such as in the active duty population. Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) presents as a large mediastinal mass, posing risks to the cardiopulmonary safety of patients and challenging the routine approach to diagnosis. We describe a case of a 23-year-old male sailor who presented to sick call on his ship while in port with shortness of breath, night sweats, 50-pound weight loss, and pruritic punched-out lesions on all extremities. An initial chest X-ray showed a large consolidation. After being seen in the pulmonary medicine clinic 5 weeks after his initial presentation, the patient was admitted to the intensive care unit after computed tomography of his chest revealed a mediastinal mass, causing compression of both the right bronchus and superior vena cava with a large pericardial effusion. Empiric high-dose dexamethasone was initiated before a formal diagnosis due to his significant risk for cardiopulmonary compromise. Following diagnosis and two cycles of chemotherapy, the patient was transferred to a medical oncology facility in the continental USA. This case demonstrates the need to educate all military providers to recognize the presentation of mediastinal masses in active duty service members and the importance of urgently escalating these patients to higher levels of care in order to avoid life-threatening complications.