Is it possible to detect ulcerative colitis-related respiratory syndrome early?


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Abstract

ObjectiveObstructive airway disease, bronchiectasis, non-specific parenchymal infiltration and bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia are seen occasionally in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. In the present study, we evaluated ulcerative colitis (UC) patients for latent pulmonary involvement.MethodsFifteen patients (nine females, six males, mean age 44 years) were admitted into the study. All patients were free of respiratory symptoms. Ulcerative colitis was active in nine patients and all patients were using anti-inflammatory treatment. Pulmonary function tests (PFT), high resolution computed tomography of thorax (HRCT) and bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and transbronchial biopsy (TBLB) were carried out in all subjects.ResultsMild airways obstruction was found in 1 of 13 patients. High resolution CT was abnormal in 4 of 15 patients. Ground glass appearance suggestive of an interstitial lung disease was present in three patients. Radiolucency and pneumocysts were present in the fourth patient suggesting obstructive small airway disease. High resolution CT findings correlated with disease activity (P < 0.05). Fiberoptic bronchoscopy was performed in 10 patients. A mixed type alveolitis was detected in BAL fluid in five patients. In eight patients, TBLB showed alveolar septal thickening by connective tissue, lymphocytic accumulation in the septal area and minimal septal fibrosis, suggesting subclinical pulmonary parenchymal involvement linked to UC.ConclusionsOur data suggest that latent interstitial pulmonary involvement may occur during the course of UC, despite an absence of symptoms of lung disease.

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