Background: Unlike Goodpasture's syndrome with diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (DAH), there are few studies examining therapy for patients with DAH associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated small-vessel vasculitis (SVV).
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all such patients presenting to our institution between 1995 and 2001. All patients were treated with apheresis and induction immunosuppressive therapy; namely, intravenous methylprednisolone and/or intravenous cyclophosphamide.
Results: DAH resolved with apheresis in 20 of 20 patients (100%) with 6.4 (average) treatments. There were no complications of therapy. Half the patients (7 of 14) who also presented with azotemia were discharged with improved renal function.
Conclusion: Patients with ANCA-related SVV and DAH benefit from prompt initiation of apheresis coupled with aggressive immunosuppressive therapy. Such therapy can be lifesaving with respect to the pulmonary component of this syndrome.