Tracheobronchial involvement in Wegener's granulomatosis

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Feb;151(2 Pt 1):522-6. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.151.2.7842215.


This study was designed to characterize the clinical spectrum and course of tracheobronchial involvement in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG). Of the 51 patients with biopsy-proven WG who underwent bronchoscopy at least once at our institution between January 1982 and November 1993, 30 (59%) had endobronchial abnormalities due to WG. Initial findings included subglottic stenosis in five (17%), ulcerating tracheobronchitis with or without inflammatory pseudotumors in 18 (60%), tracheal or bronchial stenosis without inflammation in four (13%), and hemorrhage without identifiable source in two (4%) patients. Nine patients with ulcerating tracheobronchitis on initial study had subsequent bronchoscopies for continued symptoms, which in seven cases documented the progression from ulcerating tracheobronchitis to stenosis without inflammation. Bronchoscopic interventions included dilation by rigid bronchoscope in three, YAG-laser treatment in one, and placement of silastic airway stents in three patients. Only the stents provided persistent airway patency. Endobronchial biopsies were performed on 21 occasions in 17 patients. Half of the specimens were helpful in establishing the diagnosis and in all but three in assessing disease activity. While antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody titers reflect overall disease activity, no correlation with endobronchial inflammatory activity was apparent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Female
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / diagnosis
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / immunology
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Trachea / pathology*


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Autoantibodies