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Aggregatibacter aphrophilus chronic lacrimal canaliculitis: a case report
© The Author(s). 2016
Received: 31 March 2016
Accepted: 28 July 2016
Published: 2 August 2016
Chronic canaliculitis is often misdiagnosed as conjunctivitis, delaying proper documentation and management. Aggregatibacter aphrophillus has not been implicated in chronic canaliculitis.
We report a case of unilateral chronic epiphora associated with chronic lacrimal canaliculitis resistant to prolonged topical antibiotic treatment in a 65-year-old woman without notable medical history. Canaculotomy, curettage with removal of concretions and tubing with silicone stent for six weeks resolved this chronic infection. Culturing lacrimal secretions and concretions yielded Aggregatibacter aphrophilus in pure culture. Histological analyses showed elongated seed clusters surrounded by neutrophils. Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization confirmed the presence of bacteria in two distinctive concretions.
This first documented case of A. aphrophilus chronic lacrimal canaliculitis illustrates that optimal surgical management of chronic lacrimal canaliculitis allows for both accurate microbiological diagnosis and treatment.
Chronic canaliculitis is often misdiagnosed as conjunctivitis, delaying proper management. Its diagnosis should include appropriate microbiological investigations based on the analysis of surgical clinical specimens, as treatment should include both surgery of the canaliculus and pathogen-targeted antibiotic treatment. Based on this approach, we here report on a case of Aggregatibacter aphrophilus chronic canaliculitis, firmly diagnosed using advanced microbiological methods.
Chronic lacrimal canaliculitis is rarely detected in clinical practice, accounting for 2 % of lacrimal duct diseases. This inflammation is caused by infection or punctual plug insertion. Generally, canaliculitis is a primitive unilateral condition caused by Streptococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp. or Actinomyces spp. . In the patient here reported, A. aphrophilus, formerly Haemophilus aphrophilus, a fastidious Gram-negative inhabitant of the oropharyngeal microbiota, was detected by FISH in two distinct concretions, cultured and firmly identified by mass spectrometry. Additional next-generation sequencing is a more research-oriented method, which can also be used in selected cases to disclose microorganisms. Only four cases of A. aphrophilus ocular infection have been previously reported [2–4] including two cases of endophthalmitis, one case of trabeculectomy bleb infection and one cited and as yet undescribed case of canaliculitis . Other infections mainly include brain abscess  and endocarditis .
Topical antibiotics are ineffective for curing chronic canaliculitis due to chronic colonized concretions , as illustrated by the case here reported in which antibiotics failed, despite an exquisitely antibiotic-sensitive strain of A. aphrophilus. We therefore recommend surgical treatment, canaliculotomy with incision of the punctum and curetting of the concretions, as the standard treatment of chronic canaliculitis.
FISH, fluorescence in situ hybridization; MALDI-TOF-MS, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass-spectrometry; MIC: minimum inhibitory concentration
Availability of data and materials
The dataset supporting the conclusions of this article is included within the article.
MBR, CR, LH managed the patient. VN, FG and MD performed microbiological analyses including FISH. MRH performed histological analyses. MBP drafted the report. All authors wrote the report and approved its final version. Consent to publication was obtained.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Consent for publication
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the editor of this journal.
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