Pregnancy in a woman with severe pulmonary fibrosis secondary to hard metal disease

Chest. 1988 Mar;93(3):663-5. doi: 10.1378/chest.93.3.663.


The effect of interstitial pulmonary fibrosis on pregnancy is unclear. We present the findings in a 31-year-old woman with severe pulmonary fibrosis (vital capacity, 37 percent of predicted) secondary to hard metal disease who went through a successful term pregnancy. The patient was a grinder of tungsten-carbide drill bits who developed pneumonitis and subsequent fibrosis. Her therapy required steroids and cyclophosphamide for stabilization of her pulmonary function prior to her pregnancy. At six months' gestation, right heart catheterization showed normal cardiac output and pulmonary arterial and wedge pressures. Stage 2 exercise study demonstrated a maximum oxygen consumption of 1.17 L/min (53 percent of predicted). The patient was able to exercise to a maximum workload of 300 kpm/min (32 percent of predicted). She became hypoxemic (arterial oxygen pressure, 54 mm Hg) at 150 kpm/min. Her pregnancy concluded with an uncomplicated normal vaginal delivery requiring only supplemental oxygen and spinal anesthesia. Review of the few similar cases suggests that a woman can have a successful pregnancy despite severe pulmonary dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / therapy
  • Tungsten / adverse effects*
  • Tungsten Compounds*


  • Tungsten Compounds
  • tungsten carbide
  • Tungsten