Intractable desquamative interstitial pneumonia in a tattooed man

Intern Med. 2006;45(18):1055-8. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.45.1727. Epub 2006 Oct 16.


A 20-year-old man with a 15 pack-year history of cigarette smoking had a tattoo outlined on his back with blue pigment. He noticed a dry cough and shortness of breath on exertion when the pigment of other colors was added at the age of 27. He visited our hospital two years later because of severe dyspnea. He was diagnosed with desquamative interstitial pneumonia by surgical lung biopsy. Steroid therapy with cessation of smoking was partially effective, however his disease worsened again and he died three and a half years after the diagnosis because of respiratory failure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coloring Agents / adverse effects*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / etiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / pathology*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / therapy
  • Male
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Tattooing / adverse effects*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Coloring Agents
  • Glucocorticoids