Bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia as an initial manifestation in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus: a rare presentation

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BMJ Case Rep


Bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia as an initial manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a rare and uncommon presentation. We describe a case of SLE presenting with shortness of breath, found to have pneumothorax, bilateral nodular infiltrates along with pleural effusions and pericardial effusion. Work-up suggested a diagnosis of active SLE with anaemia, thrombocytopenia, positive antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) and positive anti-double-stranded DNA. On retrospective review of patient records, from 8 years prior to presentation, lung biopsy histology consistent with bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia with positive ANA serology was found, without any further autoimmune work-up. In our opinion, bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia was the index presentation of SLE. Treatment with steroids and subsequent management with immunosuppressive therapy could have prevented subsequent hospitalisations. Prompt work-up for autoimmune diseases should be considered in patients with positive ANA and histological evidence of bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia.

Medical Subject Headings

Aged, 80 and over; Antibodies, Antinuclear; Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia; Humans; Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic; Male; Pericardial Effusion; Pleural Effusion; Pneumothorax

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