Background: Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infection is on the rise worldwide. Chronic pulmonary infection can be difficult to diagnose, and thus easily misdiagnosed and mistreated in clinical practice, leading to serious complications.
Case presentation, methods and results: A patient with NTM pulmonary infection, who had undergone a lengthy treatment course in two different hospitals, resulting in drug related multi-organ damage, was presented. The patient was ultimately diagnosed with NTM infection via a culture of lymph node biopsy, a diagnosis was further confirmed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. The patient’s condition improved gradually and was discharged from hospital.
Conclusions: Clinicians are advised to be cautious of the likelihood of NTM pulmonary infection in febrile patients with patchy shadows in pulmonary imaging, especially after a failure to respond to a diagnostic anti-tuberculosis treatment. A lung biopsy for pathologic diagnosis and culture is necessary in order to avoid misdiagnosis and subsequent serious consequences.