Diagnostic difficulties in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations: A case report


Exacerbations of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) influence, by their frequency and severity, the life prognosis of patients with COPD. Most exacerbations are caused by respiratory infections with negative impact on patient quality of life. The impact of frequent exacerbation in COPD is manifested by the rapid decline of lung function, decreased quality of life increased airway inflamation and high mortality. Bronchial obstruction by foreign bodies meets frequently during childhood but can occur in adults under certain conditions of loss of consciousness (sleep, administration of tranquilizers, after anesthesia, intoxicated). The longstanding intrabronchial foreign body presents problems of diagnosis and treatment which are very different from those associated with the recently inhaled foreign body. We herein report a 77-year-old male, smoker (40 pack-year) presented to the clinic with severe dyspnoea, fever and cough with purulent sputum for about 6 months. Persistent symptoms require repeated hospitalizations for receiving different regimens of antibiotics, but they have not helped. Chest radiography showed extensive consolidation of the right lower lobe, intensity rib, heterogeneous and Chest CT scan showed metallic foreign body in right lower lobar bronchus with secondary pneumonic process in the lower right lobe. Emergency was performed bronchoscopy and extracted dental crown consists of three teeth and then the patient received combined antibiotic therapy for 14 days, in association with anti-inflammatory, mucolytics and bronchodilators. After 2 weeks he was overall in very good condition and all other complaints disappeared and Chest X-ray control showed full resorption of pneumonia opacity, without disabling signs. In this particular case, only minor symptoms are seen at the beginning and the aspirated foreign body was forgotten until later symptoms (inflammation, infection) were developed and developing clinically manifest. The diagnosis was delayed due to lack of radiographic view which may be aspirated foreign body embedded in granulation tissue formed around.

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Bucsa, S. and Calistru, P. (2013) Diagnostic difficulties in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations: A case report. Case Reports in Clinical Medicine, 2, 370-374. doi: 10.4236/crcm.2013.26099.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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