Pulmonary capillaritis

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Abstract

Vasculitis, inflammation, and necrosis of blood vessels can involve any size or type of vessel in the pulmonary vasculature, including the capillaries, so-called capillaritis. Although pulmonary capillaritis is a histopathologic diagnosis that is not pathognomonic of a specific disorder, it usually signals the presence of an underlying systemic vasculitis or collagen vascular disease. Patients with pulmonary capillaritis usually present with bilateral infiltrates on chest radiographs and can be acutely ill with diffuse alveolar hemorrhage that may be life threatening. Therapy depends on diagnosis of the underlying disease that gave rise to the capillaritis. Since many of the disorders leading to capillaritis are treated by immunosuppression with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide or azathioprine, infection must be excluded early in the course of therapy.

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