Emphysematous changes in hypersensitivity pneumonitis: A retrospective analysis of 12 patients

Misbah Baqir, Darin White, Jay H. Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: Emphysema is most commonly associated with smoking but also occurs in hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). The aim of this study was to further explore this relationship. Methods: A retrospective, computer-assisted search was performed to identify patients with HP seen at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, from January 1997 through February 2014. Demographic, clinical, and imaging features were analyzed. Patients were excluded if they had a smoking history of 10 pack-years or more. Results: Twelve patients (9 males) with HP and computed tomographic evidence of emphysema were identified. Ten were never smokers and 2 were ex-smokers. The median age at diagnosis was 47 (range, 29–77) years; median symptom duration was 2.2 (range, 0.2–13.4) years. The most common presenting symptoms were dyspnea (83%) and cough (67%). On pulmonary function testing, 6 patients (50%) had a restrictive defect, 2 (17%) had airflow obstruction, and 4 (33%) had an isolated reduction in diffusing capacity of lung for carbon monoxide. The severity of emphysema ranged from mild to severe to focal bullae. All patients had chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis (CHP). Centrilobular emphysema was most commonly seen with coexistent paraseptal emphysema in 5 patients. Emphysema was most frequent in the upper lung but could be seen in any lobe. Conclusion: Emphysema can occur in patients with CHP independently of smoking history and exposure to specific types of antigens. Emphysematous changes seem to progress at a slower pace compare to reticulations/fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-29
Number of pages5
JournalRespiratory Medicine Case Reports
StatePublished - 2018


  • Emphysema
  • Fibrosis
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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