The NHLBI lymphangioleiomyomatosis registry: characteristics of 230 patients at enrollment

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2006 Jan 1;173(1):105-11. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200409-1298OC. Epub 2005 Oct 6.


Rationale: Pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis is a progressive cystic lung disease that is associated with infiltration of atypical smooth muscle-like cells. Previous descriptions of clinical characteristics of subjects with lymphangioleiomyomatosis have been based on a limited number of patients.

Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics of subjects with pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis, both sporadic and tuberous sclerosis-related forms.

Methods: Over a 3-yr period, from 1998 to 2001, 243 subjects with pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis were enrolled into a national registry; 13 subjects who had already undergone lung transplantation were excluded for the purposes of this report.

Measurements and main results: All 230 subjects were women, aged 18 to 76 yr (mean +/- SE, 44.5 +/- 0.65 yr). The average age at onset of symptoms was 38.9 +/- 0.73 yr and at diagnosis was 41.0 +/- 0.65 yr. Tuberous sclerosis complex was present in 14.8% of subjects. Pulmonary manifestations, most commonly spontaneous pneumothorax, were the primary events leading to the diagnosis in 86.5% of cases. Nearly 55% of the subjects were being treated with a progesterone derivative. An obstructive pattern on pulmonary function testing was observed in 57.3% of the subjects, whereas 33.9% had normal spirometric results. Women with tuberous sclerosis-related lymphangioleiomyomatosis were younger and had less impaired lung function compared with those with the sporadic form.

Conclusions: The age range of women afflicted with pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis is broader than previously appreciated and the degree of pulmonary function can be quite variable, with one-third of subjects having normal spirometry at enrollment into this registry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / diagnosis
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • United States / epidemiology