Friday, July 11, 2008

Pseudomonas is No Fun

Pseudomonas aeruginosa according to the Pseudomonas Genome Database V2 is "a versatile Gram-negative bacterium that grows in soil, marshes, and coastal marine habitats, as well as on plant and animal tissues." In other words, it's everywhere. For most of us, it's not a problem. But for people with cystic fibrosis, or cancer, or who have a compromised immune system, it can be a big, ugly problem. Will's on and off pseudomonas infection pre-dates his transplant. For a while after transplant it seemed gone for good, but when Will got PTLD and then Hodgkin's lymphoma, and the various types of pneumonia that went along with being sick, his pseudomonas came back and seems like it might be here to stay for a while. Will's pulmonary doc says: people after transplant get what they had before transplant. I guess that has pretty much been true for Will. It has been making his mornings, especially, tough lately.

It may be that as Will gets farther out from the various lymphomas and pneumonias and his health stabilizes more and (we hope!) improves more, he'll be able to clear the pseudomonas as he was able to pre transplant. But, it will be harder this time because of the immune suppression drugs he needs to take to prevent rejection. In the meantime, he tries to keep it under control with daily airway clearance and periodic IV and inhaled antibiotics.

It appears that the pseudomonas makes a home in Will's sinuses and goes from there into his lungs. Sinus surgery has been discussed but the results seem uncertain, especially for someone with CF. If any of you CFers out there have experience with sinus surgery one way or the other, please let me know. Thanks.

PS - I took the pseudomonas photo from the wikipedia site, which says it is P. aeruginosa colonies on an agar plate.

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