Case Report
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Respirol. Aug 8, 2021; 11(1): 1-11
Published online Aug 8, 2021. doi: 10.5320/wjr.v11.i1.1
SARS-CoV-2 with concurrent coccidioidomycosis complicated by refractory pneumothorax in a Hispanic male: A case report and literature review
Joscilin Mathew, Sundar V Cherukuri, Fatma Dihowm
Joscilin Mathew, Sundar V Cherukuri, Fatma Dihowm, Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, El Paso, TX 79905, United States
Author contributions: Cherukuri S and Dihowm F participated in the direct medical care described in this manuscript; Mathew J and Cherukuri SV contributed to the manuscript’s concept, design and drafting, the acquisition of data, and the analysis and interpretation of the data; Mathew J, Cherukuri SV, and Dihowm F were responsible for the revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content.
Informed consent statement: Informed consent for surgical procedures performed were obtained.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
CARE Checklist (2016) statement: The manuscript was revised according to the CARE Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Joscilin Mathew, MBBS, MD, Doctor, Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, 4800 Alberta Ave. MSC 41007, El Paso, TX 79905, United States.
Received: March 17, 2021
Peer-review started: March 17, 2021
First decision: March 31, 2021
Revised: April 14, 2021
Accepted: July 9, 2021
Article in press: July 9, 2021
Published online: August 8, 2021

The incidence of secondary coinfections particularly fungal infections among severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is not well described. Little is known of the complications that could be encountered in such conditions.


A 50-year-old Hispanic male who was a prior smoker presented with shortness of breath. He was diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2. He improved and was discharged with home oxygen. A month later, he presented with sudden onset cough and shortness of breath. Chest X-ray showed development of right-sided tension pneumothorax, right pleural effusion and an air-filled cystic structure. Computed tomography thorax showed findings suggestive of pulmonary coccidioidomycosis. Coccidioides antigen was positive, and fluconazole was initiated. For pneumothorax, a pigtail catheter was placed. The pigtail chest tube was later switched to water seal, unfortunately, the pneumothorax re-expanded. Another attempt to transition chest tube to water seal was unsuccessful. Pigtail chest tube was then swapped to 32-Fr chest tube and chemical pleurodesis was performed. This was later transitioned successfully to water seal and finally removed. He was discharged on a four-week oral course of fluconazole 400 mg and was to follow up closely as an outpatient for continued monitoring.


Pneumothorax is associated with a worse prognosis, especially with comorbidities such as diabetes, immunosuppression and malignancy. Suspicion for concomitant fungal infection in such patients should be high and would necessitate further investigation.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Coccidioidomycosis, Co-infection, Fungal infection, Tension pneumothorax, Refractory pneumothorax, Case report, Literature review

Core Tip: This case highlights the presence of a concomitant infection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coccidioidomycosis. This was further complicated by the formation of a refractory pneumothorax. Fungal infections in SARS-CoV-2 patients appear underdiagnosed and may have an increased prevalence in patients with comorbidities, such as malignancies, diabetes, and chronic lung disorders. Total 39 case reports were included in our literature review. The risk of pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum formation does not necessarily increase from a history of smoking or underlying lung pathology; however, the incidence of a prolonged cough prior to pneumothorax formation seems to be consistent across several reported cases.