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The web site www.fibrosing-mediastinitis.com was created to provide support and information to patients and families who are affected by fibrosing mediastinitis (FM). Mediastinal fibrosis is the least common, but the most severe, late complication of histoplasmosis. Many physicians believe mediastinal fibrosis to be an abnormal immunologic response to antigens released by the soil-based fungus histoplasma capsulatum. It should be differentiated from the many other less-severe mediastinal complications of histoplasmosis, and from other causes of mediastinal fibrosis, which are termed idiopathic mediastinal fibrosis. Idiopathic fibrosing mediastinitis is even less common, but may have multiple causes, none of which are related to histoplasmosis. Accordingly, there are two types of fibrosing mediastinitis; histoplasmosis-related fibrosing mediastinitis, and idiopathic fibrosing mediastinitis which may have multiple causes unrelated to histoplasmosis. Both types are rare disorders caused by proliferations of collagen, fibrosis tissue and associated inflammatory cells within the mediastinum (the space between the lungs). Patients with histoplasmosis-related fibrosing mediastinitis present with signs of fatigue, shortness of breath (dyspnea), cough with (hemoptysis) or without blood, chronic lung (pleuritic) pain and recurrent pulmonary infection. Patients with idiopathic fibrosing mediastinitis present symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, shortness of breath, coughing and severe chest pains.
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