Chest 63; What ails thee (Jock)?

10 May

Fortunately systemic fungal infection in humans is uncommon, when it occurs it’s usually in immune-compromised people and the consequence can be disastrous. My index X-ray was of a young man born with HIV from his mother, with rare pleural fungal empyema caused by aspergillus. The prognosis is almost universally poor, successful treatment usually combines surgery with antifungal therapy.
The picture comprises a busy pattern of contrasting layers built from images taken of flowers, reflections in a polished ceramic tile, and a stained concrete wall. I‘ve tried to emphasise the fungal aspect of the disease with fruiting bodies of the mushroom amanita phalloides. They were growing in garden mulch outside our hospital (there is probably enough toxin in that group to poison a small town). The X-ray was split into two layers, they influence the composition separately, remove either layer and the congruity of the image falls apart.
Amanita toxin halts RNA function, cells therefore die first in the liver leading to acute failure followed by kidney and subsequently whole body failure. I don’t know the outcome of this young man but purely on statistics the prospects were unlikely to be good.


Chest 63; What ails thee (Jock)?


6 Responses to “Chest 63; What ails thee (Jock)?”

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs May 10, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Absolutely amazing! It’s the lovliest fungal infection I’ve ever seen! Fungal as in histoplasmosis?

    • Xraypics May 10, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      Fungal as in histoplasmosis yes, but I believe this was aspergillosis. Thanks for liking it. The mushrooms are amanita – very toxic! Tony

      • Playamart - Zeebra Designs May 10, 2013 at 10:19 am #

        that’s a new one! thanks for the medical lesson as well as an amazing piece of art! z

      • Xraypics May 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

        Histoplasmosis mainly in Americas and central Africa, endemic and associated with non-industrialised countries. Aspergillus – opportunistic in industrialised countries and is hanging around in everyone’s respiratory tract waiting for an opportunity to invade, such as decreased immunity. Very common cause of asthma. Probably world commonest mycosis is Candida by a long shot, it is really a yeast. Hope you find it interesting. You would see a lot more Histoplasmosis around South America than I do – Tony

  2. Playamart - Zeebra Designs May 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    yes, i do find it interesting.. i grew up in the mississippi delta, and i have had two friends lose vision in one eye thanks to histoplasmosis. this past year i had a month-long pulmonary ailment that was difficult to diagnose/treat here in latin america.. one doc said, ’emphysema,’ another, ‘asthma, – but have you ever been diagnosed with TB?’ and so on. it took months to get over that one.. i am normally very healthy. one of these days i’ll take my x-rays to my old doc in mississippi and say, ‘take a look! what was that monster that kicked me down?’

    we can always learn something new – it helps keep our brains sharp, and i enjoy your posts for that reason as well as the aesthetic beauty!


    • Xraypics May 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Sorry to hear about your friends histoplasmosis. Sounds horrible. Also about your chest infection. I hope you recovered fully. Apropos the picture, it was one i really enjoyed doing. So glad you liked it. Tony

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