Pulmonary symptomatology is frequently observed in the diffuse collagen diseases. An evaluation to determine any specificity or similarity of the pulmonary manifestations of these diseases was made using certain diagnostic techniques and therapeutic procedures. The diseases studied were polyarteritis nodosa, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Striking and often the initial symptoms of polyarteritis nodosa are found in the respiratory tract. Asthma of the intrinsic type is seen in 50% to 85% of patients when polyarteritis involves the lung.1 Less frequently, pleuritic pain and hemoptysis are reported. The first case illustrates the extent of the chest disease in polyarteritis, the response to therapy, and the difficulty in making a pathologic diagnosis after therapy.
This 25-year-old white female with a negative past and family history of allergy developed severe wheezing in 1955. She received numerous medications, but her symptoms responded only to steroids, then incompletely.