Volume 50, Issue 5 (September 2005)
Autopsy Confirmation of Severe Pulmonary Interstitial Fibrosis Secondary to Munchausen Syndrome Presenting as Cystic Fibrosis
Chronic factitious disorder with physical symptoms, or Munchausen syndrome, is a well-recognized but uncommonly diagnosed psychiatric condition characterized by the deliberate production of signs and symptoms of disease in order to receive medical attention. Clinical suspicion of this disease is rarely confirmed by autopsy, as the patients usually do not die as a consequence of feigning illness. Here we report the autopsy confirmation of a case of a suspected Munchausen syndrome patient who presented with a history of cystic fibrosis. Examination of the lungs demonstrated extensive severe interstitial fibrosis, and polariscopic examination revealed a large quantity of crystalline material throughout the tissue; X-ray diffraction identified the material as talc. Synopses of published cases of Munchausen syndrome presenting as cystic fibrosis, and cases of Munchausen syndrome with pulmonary talcosis are presented as part of the discussion.