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Granulomatous interstitial lung disease in a long-term drug abuser

Author(s): Karen Laudenbach | Jan Koch | Bernd Seese

Journal: Health
ISSN 1949-4998

Volume: 02;
Issue: 07;
Start page: 672;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Pulmonary Talcosis | Granulomatous Pneumoconiosis | Drug Abuse | Heroin | Foreign Body Granuloma | Interstitial Lung Disease

It is the habit of some drug consumers to dissolve the powder of crushed pills, intended for oral use, in water and inject this solution intravenously. Insoluble particles than obstruct pulmonary vessels causing microscopic pulmonary emboli. These foreign bodies migrate and penetrate into the perivascular space and interstitium, resulting in chronic inflammation and foreign body giant cell reaction. As a result of this a granulomatous interstitial fibrosis can develop, which has also been described as pulmonary talcosis. We are reporting the case of a 22 year old male with a history of long-term intravenous drug abuse. He presented to our hospital complaining of dyspnoea, cough and generalized weakness. We describe an extensive diagnostic process concluded by an open lung biopsy establishing a definitive diagnosis of this rare granulomatous lung disease. This case underlines the importance of a thorough diagnostic work up and the pathogenic potential of foreign material reaching the lung via blood circulation in amongst the differential diagnoses of interstitial lung diseases, especially occurring in this group of patients.

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