Bronchiolitis obliterans caused by Legionella pneumophila

Chest. 1985 Jun;87(6):840-2. doi: 10.1378/chest.87.6.840.


A diabetic patient presented with symptoms and laboratory findings compatible with atypical pneumonia. Despite appropriate antibiotic therapy, his dyspnea, arterial oxygenation, and chest roentgenographic findings worsened. Because the patient had a history of homosexual contact, an open lung biopsy was obtained to morphologically define the tissue reaction and to search for a specific etiology. Histologic examination showed bronchiolitis obliterans but did not demonstrate a cause. Legionnaires' disease was subsequently diagnosed on the basis of a fourfold rise in indirect fluorescent antibody titer. This case report demonstrates that Legionella pneumophila may induce lung injury with bronchiolitis obliterans. Such patients may benefit from corticosteroid treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Bronchitis / etiology*
  • Bronchitis / pathology
  • Homosexuality
  • Humans
  • Legionnaires' Disease / diagnosis*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / pathology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged