Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Stridor, malaise, and visual loss in a woman from Sierra Leone
  1. S E Brice,
  2. M D Oldfield,
  3. R Barker
  1. King's College Hospital, London, UK
  1. Dr S E Brice, Department of Care of the Elderly, Hemel Hempstead General Hospital, Hillfield Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 4AD, UKsarah.brice{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Answers on p 607 . Answers on p XXX.

A 20 year woman from Sierra Leone, presented with a three week history of pain and blurred vision in her left eye. She reported feeling unwell for one month with malaise, anorexia, weight loss, and night sweats. Her general practitioner had recently diagnosed asthma as she had been short of breath on exertion, and she had a dry cough. She was a non-smoker on no other medication.

On examination she was thin, alert, and apyrexial. She had no rash or lymphadenopathy. Her respiratory rate was 20 breaths/min, and her trachea was central. On auscultation she had inspiratory stridor, with a peak expiratory flow rate of 240 l/min, and oxygen saturations on air that fell from 94% to 78% on exertion. Cardiovascular and abdominal examinations were unremarkable except for a tattoo on her abdomen. Visual acuity was light-dark discrimination in the left and 6/6 in the right. Colour perception was maintained, and fundoscopy was normal. Other cranial nerves were normal. Peripheral nervous system examination revealed normal tone, power and reflexes, with flexor plantar responses. There was no sensory disturbance.

Investigations showed a haemoglobin concentration of 136 g/l, platelet count 325 × 109/l, and white cell count 6.7 × 109/l (neutrophils 5.2, lymphocytes 0.71). Urea and electrolytes, liver function tests, and arterial blood gases were within normal limits. Total protein was 88 g/l, albumin 41 g/l, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate of 72 mm/hour. Lumbar puncture showed an opening pressure of 13 cm, white cell count <5/mm, protein 164 mg/l, glucose 4.7 mmol/l (plasma glucose 9.3 mmol/l); no organisms were seen on Gram stain.

Chest radiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the orbit are shown in figs 1 and2.


What do the chest radiograph and orbital MRI scan show? Give a differential diagnosis for the radiological findings.
What investigation would give the diagnosis?
What other serology would be helpful?