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Papers of the Week

2022 Oct




A 44-Year-Old Woman with Dyspnea and Hemoptysis in the Setting of Remote Bariatric Surgery.


Chao S, Hoch V, Gilbert T, Nelson S, Sheetz K, Ghaferi A, Wakeam E, Co I
Chest. 2022 Oct; 162(4):e173-e176.
PMID: 36210110.


A 44-year-old woman was transferred to the ED from an outside hospital because of hemoptysis and concern for left-sided pulmonary infiltrate with associated pleural effusion. The patient presented to this outside hospital multiple times over the past 3 months because of left-sided shoulder pain, diffuse myalgias, and supraventricular tachycardia. On her third visit, she was found to have a left-sided pleural effusion and underwent diagnostic and therapeutic thoracentesis; 1.5 L of fluid was removed. Fluid studies reportedly demonstrated an exudative pleural effusion with negative bacterial cultures and no evidence of neoplastic process. The patient was referred to the Rheumatology Department by the outside hospital for suspected underlying autoimmune process. In the months leading up to her current presentation, the patient had been prescribed one prednisone burst and two prednisone tapers. She was then placed on a regimen of 10 mg prednisone daily and 200 mg hydroxychloroquine bid by her primary care doctor. This was tapered by the Rheumatology Department such that the patient was on 7.5 mg of prednisone daily on arrival to this ED. Rheumatologic workup until this point revealed only low titer (1:80) positive antinuclear antibody. Prior to these ED visits, the patient had been otherwise healthy with only a history of a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass 17 years earlier. Aside from recent daily low-dose prednisone use, the patient did not have other preexisting immune compromise or risk factors for aspiration such as seizure disorder, chronic alcohol use, or cognitive impairment. Before her transfer, the patient experienced foul-smelling, maroon-colored hemoptysis as well as anemia that required a higher level of care. On arrival to the ED, she was in acute hypoxic respiratory failure. The patient was intubated emergently and was admitted to the medical critical care unit for further treatment.