Wegener’s granulomatosis in a middle-aged woman presenting with dyspnea, rash, hemoptysis and recurrent eye complaints: a case report
Department of Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Suite 3N1 1400 Pelham Pkwy S., Bronx, NY, 10461, USA
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:335 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-335Published: 3 October 2012
Wegener’s granulomatosis presenting as diffuse alveolar hemorrhage is uncommon. However, the recognition of multisystem disease involving joints, kidney, eye and lung is critical for diagnosing Wegener's vasculitis. This is not the first report of this kind in the literature.
A 51-year-old Croatian woman presented to our Emergency Department with a history of progressively worsening productive cough and shortness of breath, epistaxis and two episodes of hemoptysis. She developed respiratory failure due to diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, which was successfully treated with high-dose steroids, cyclophosphamide and plasmapheresis. Her clinical course was complicated with methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus pneumonia, which has been associated with Wegener’s granulomatosis flares.
The recognition of multisystem disease is critical for diagnosing Wegener's vasculitis. Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage can be a fulminant manifestation of Wegener’s granulomatosis, in which case immediate and aggressive treatment with pulse steroids, high-dose cyclophosphamide and plasma exchange can be life-saving.