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Chest. 1996 Nov;110(5):1305-16.

Pulmonary capillaritis and alveolar hemorrhage. Update on diagnosis and management.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5236, USA.

Erratum in

  • Chest 1997 Jul;112(1):300.

Abstract

Pulmonary vascular inflammatory disorders may involve all components of the pulmonary vasculature, including capillaries. The principal histopathologic features of pulmonary capillaritis include capillary wall necrosis with infiltration by neutrophils, interstitial erythrocytes, and/or hemosiderin, and interalveolar septal capillary occlusion by fibrin thrombi. Immune complex deposition is variably present. Patients often present clinically with diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, which is characterized by dyspnea and hemoptysis; diffuse, bilateral, alveolar infiltrates on chest radiograph; and anemia. Pulmonary capillaritis has been reported with variable frequency and severity as a manifestation of Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyarteritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Goodpasture's syndrome, idiopathic pulmonary renal syndrome, Behçet's syndrome, Henoch-Schönlein purpura, IgA nephropathy, antiphospholipid syndrome, progressive systemic sclerosis, and diphenylhydantoin use. In addition to history, physical examination, and routine laboratory studies, certain ancillary laboratory tests, such as antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies, antinuclear antibodies, and antiglomerular basement membrane antibodies, may help diagnose an underlying disease. Diagnosis of pulmonary capillaritis can be made by fiberoptic bronchoscopy with transbronchial biopsy, but thoracoscopic biopsy is often employed. Since many disorders can result in pulmonary capillaritis with diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, it is crucial for clinicians and pathologists to work together when attempting to identify an underlying disease. Therapy depends on the disorder that gave rise to the pulmonary capillaritis and usually includes corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide or azathioprine. Since most diseases that result in pulmonary capillaritis are treated with immunosuppression, infection must be excluded aggressively.

PMID:
8915239
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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