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Diffuse alveolar haemorrhage associated with subsequent development of ANCA positivity and emphysema in three young adults

  • Stainer, Anna1
  • Rice, Alex2
  • Devaraj, Anand3
  • Barnett, Joseph Luke3
  • Donovan, Jacqueline4
  • Kokosi, Maria1
  • Nicholson, Andrew Gordon2, 5
  • Cairns, Tom6
  • Wells, Athol Umfrey1
  • Renzoni, Elisabetta Augusta1
  • 1 Interstitial Lung Disease Unit, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Department of Histopathology, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Department of Radiology, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 4 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 5 National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
  • 6 Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK , London (United Kingdom)
Published Article
BMC pulmonary medicine
Publication Date
Oct 24, 2019
DOI: 10.1186/s12890-019-0947-y
Springer Nature


BackgroundDiffuse alveolar haemorrhage (DAH) is characterized by the diffuse accumulation of red blood cells within the alveoli, presence of ground glass opacities and/or consolidation on computed tomography (CT). Aside from identifiable non-immune causes, DAH is classically subdivided into idiopathic (idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis, IPH) and autoimmune DAH. Here we describe three cases presenting with recurrent pulmonary haemorrhage, initially classified as IPH, who, several years after first presentation, develop anti myeloperoxidase antibodies (MPO) positivity, emphysema on CT and, in one case, renal involvement.Case presentationPatient 1 was diagnosed with IPH aged 14. Her disease remained poorly controlled despite immunosuppression, although ANCA remained negative over the years. Nineteen years from initial presentation, she developed MPO-ANCA positive antibodies and mild renal impairment. She was treated with Rituximab with good response. From first presentation, the chest CT was consistently characterized by diffuse ground-glass opacities and interlobular septal thickening. Ten years later, cystic opacities consistent with emphysema, with a striking peribronchovascular distribution, developed. Patient 2 was diagnosed with IPH aged 32. He was treated with corticosteroids and methotrexate, with fluctuating response. At 11 years from initial presentation, MPO-ANCA positivity was identified, and emphysema with a peribronchovascular distribution was observed on CT, with subsequent significant increase in extent. Patient 3 was diagnosed with IPH at the age of seven, and had recurrent episodes of haemoptysis of varying degree of severity, treated with intermittent courses of corticosteroids until age 11, when he was intubated due to severe DAH. Eight years after the diagnosis emphysematous changes were noted on CT and MPO-ANCA positivity developed for the first time 11 years after initial diagnosis.ConclusionsWe believe these three cases highlight: 1) the possibility of development of ANCA positivity several years down the line from first DAH presentation 2) the possibility that DAH may lead to cystic/emphysematous changes with peribronchovascular distribution on CT. Moreover, the need for ongoing immunosuppressive treatment and the development of emphysema, emphasize a possible role played by autoimmune phenomena, even when DAH is initially diagnosed as “idiopathic”. Further studies are required to better understand the relationship between DAH, ANCA positivity and development of emphysema.

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