A 62-Year-Old Woman With Wheezing, Respiratory Failure, and an Abnormal CT Scan

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A previously healthy 62-year-old woman was transferred to the ICU from the medical ward with acute bronchospastic respiratory failure requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation. Four weeks before, the patient was vacationing in Arizona and acquired a mildly productive cough as well as mild dyspnea. She presented to an urgent care facility and was diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia. She received a 5-day course of azithromycin, with partial improvement of her symptoms. The patient returned home 1 week prior to admission, reporting worsening dyspnea, chest pressure, cough, and fever. The patient was admitted to the medical ward, and treatment for unresolved pneumonia was begun with levofloxacin, an inhaled short-acting beta agonist, and oral prednisone. Despite this treatment, the patient experienced severe respiratory distress with audible wheezing as well as increased work of breathing. She was intubated for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and transferred to the ICU.

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