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Papers of the Week

2023 Mar

Radiol Case Rep



Disseminated tuberculosis masquerading as Tolosa-Hunt syndrome in initial presentation: A case report with literature review.


Sasi S, Nair A P, Kolleri J, Alzibdeh A, Maslamani M R AS
Radiol Case Rep. 2023 Mar; 18(3):1353-1357.
PMID: 36712191.


Tolosa-Hunt syndrome (THS) is a painful ophthalmoplegia due to non-specific granulomatous inflammation in the cavernous sinus region. It is diagnosed by the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD)-3 criteria. We report the case of a young lady who presented with a right-sided headache for 2 weeks, followed by right-sided diplopia for 4 days. Clinical examination revealed right trochlear nerve palsy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of her brain showed abnormal thickening and postcontrast enhancement of the right orbital apex and superior orbital fissure, suggesting THS. Examination of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) ruled out intracranial infection. The initial presentation satisfied the ICHD-3 criteria. Further imaging revealed cervical, axillary, and intra-abdominal lymphadenopathy with granulomatous lesions in the spleen and right kidney. Ultrasound (US)-guided axillary lymph node biopsy was positive for . QuantiFERON TB gold plus test from serum was positive. Based on radiological and histopathological findings, a diagnosis of disseminated tuberculosis involving lymph nodes, kidneys, spleen, and lungs was made. THS is a diagnosis of exclusion. This case signifies that patients diagnosed with THS based on ICHD-3 criteria should be extensively evaluated to rule out granulomatous infections such as tuberculosis. Typical THS symptoms with granulomatous inflammation can give false reassurance to clinicians and prevent investigation for more dangerous etiologies. As painful ophthalmoplegia can arise secondary to a myriad of pathologies, diagnostic workups for all possibilities should be exhausted before arriving at a diagnosis of THS. Regardless of MRI findings, workups for tuberculosis and fungal infections should be completed.