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Frontiers of Medicine

ISSN 2095-0217

ISSN 2095-0225(Online)

CN 11-5983/R

Postal Subscription Code 80-967

2018 Impact Factor: 1.847

Front. Med.    2015, Vol. 9 Issue (2) : 229-238     DOI: 10.1007/s11684-015-0394-y
RESEARCH ARTICLE |
Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis: an interesting case report with systematic review of Indian literature
Nidhya Ganesan1,*(),Marie Moses Ambroise1,Anita Ramdas1,King Herald Kisku2,Kulwant Singh3,Renu G’ Boy Varghese1
1. Department of Pathology, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Pondicherry 605014, India
2. Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Pondicherry 605014, India
3. Department of Pathology, BPS Government Medical College for Women, Sonepat, Haryana 131305, India
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Abstract  

Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis is a rare disease characterized by intra-alveolar presence of microliths. This study reports an interesting case of pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis and provides a systematic review of cases reported from India. A 23-year-old female presented with a history of cough, wheeze, chest pain, and episodic wheeze for five months. Pulmonary function tests demonstrated an obstructive pattern, and chest X-ray showed fine micronodular opacities predominantly involving the middle and lower zones of both lungs. Transbronchial lung biopsy revealed the diagnosis. She responded well to inhaled steroid therapy. A systematic review of literature was performed and identified 73 cases of pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis reported from India. The mean (SD) age of the patients was 28.8 (14.9) years, with an almost equal male:female ratio. Many patients were asymptomatic at presentation. Breathlessness and cough were the most common symptoms, and the disease progressed into respiratory failure associated with cor pulmonale. About one-third of the cases were initially misdiagnosed and treated as pulmonary tuberculosis. Extra-pulmonary manifestations and co-morbidities were also evident in our series. This systematic review helps to determine epidemiological and clinical characteristics of pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis. Further research is needed to elucidate the etiopathogenesis, diagnosis, and therapeutic options, which are beneficial in developing and identifying cost-effective treatment for pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis.

Keywords pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis      alveolar microlithiasis      microliths      rare diseases     
Corresponding Authors: Nidhya Ganesan   
Online First Date: 12 May 2015    Issue Date: 22 May 2015
URL:  
http://academic.hep.com.cn/fmd/EN/10.1007/s11684-015-0394-y     OR     http://academic.hep.com.cn/fmd/EN/Y2015/V9/I2/229
Fig.1  Chest X-ray showing fine, diffuse, and symmetric micronodular calcifications.
Fig.2  High resolution CT scan showing diffuse bilateral miliary shadows.
Fig.3  Calcospherites within the dilated alveolar spaces (H&E stain, 100×).
Fig.4  Concentric calcification (H&E stain, 400×).
Fig.5  Repeat chest X-ray also showing diffuse micronodular calcifications.
Age group in years Number of cases in each age group Non-symptomatic Breath-lessness Cough Fever Sputum expect-oration Clubbing Cyanosis Cor Pulmonale
0–10 8 337.5% 00.0% 1*12.5% 337.5% 112.5% 112.5% 00.0% 00.0%
11–20 16 637.5% 637.5% 637.5% 16.3% 16.3% 425.0% 00.0% 00.0%
21–30 17 529.4% 635.3% 635.3% 317.6% 317.6% 317.6% 317.6% 317.6%
31–40 15 320% 1066.7% 960.0% 16.7% 426.7% 640.0% 213.3% 426.7%
41–50 10 00.0% 990% 770.0% 110.0% 660.0% 440.0% 220.0% 220.0%
≥51 7 00.0% 685.7% 571.4% 00.0% 228.6% 228.6% 228.6% 342.9%
TOTAL 73 1723.3% 3750.7% 3446.6% 912.3% 1723.3% 2027.4% 912.3% 1216.4%
Tab.1  Clinical manifestations of pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis (PAM ) in different age groups (73 cases)
Review Turkish series [4] Italian series[5] Our series
Number of cases 52 48 73
Age (mean) 27.3 30.5 28.8
Male 65.4% 39.6% 49.3%
Female 34.6% 60.4% 50.7%
Clinical features
Asymptomatic 19.2% 35.4% 23.3%
Dyspnea 67.3% 67.7% 50.7%
Fever NA 9.6% 12.3%
Cough 38.5% 32.2% 46.6%
Cyanosis 13.5% 29% 12.3%
Clubbing 23.1% NA 27.4%
Pulmonary function tests
Normal 32% 64.2% 12.5%
Restrictive 68% 28.7% 85%
Obstructive 0 7.1% 2.5%
Diagnostic investigationsCT scan 9.6% 23.0% 34.3%
Tc-99 scintiscan 13.5% NA 12.3%
BAL 11.5% 16.7% 12.3%
Biopsy 76.9% 33.3% 50.7%
Necropsy NA 16.7% 1.4%
Tab.2  Epidemiological characteristics, clinical features, and diagnostic tests in India and other countries
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