We describe a fatal case of diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (DAH) complicated by rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A female patient was diagnosed with RA two months earlier and was treated with prednisolone and tacrolimus due to abnormalities in chest images. The patient was admitted to Hamanomachi Hospital for exertional dyspnea and was treated for exacerbation of chronic heart failure. Even after treatment for heart failure, exertional dyspnea remained. Chest CT imaging revealed contractile, patchy consolidations and ground-glass opacities (GGO) with a peribronchial distribution, suggesting an organizing pneumonia (OP) pattern. She was then treated with an additional 25 mg/day of prednisolone following a clinical diagnosis of OP. When the prednisolone dose was tapered, chest imaging showed worsening infiltration. A bronchoscopy was conducted, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was sanguineous, indicating DAH. Given that additional workup for the other etiology of DAH was negative, DAH was thought to be related to RA. Intensive treatment, including pulse dose methylprednisolone, failed to halt progression of respiratory failure, leading to a fatal outcome. The clinical presentation proved challenging due to its rarity. DAH might be a differential diagnosis in RA patients with consolidations and GGO in chest CT images. We review past cases of RA-associated DAH and assess potential treatment choices for future cases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine