Case report: recurrent pneumothorax in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis

Am J Med Sci. 1994 Sep;308(3):171-2. doi: 10.1097/00000441-199409000-00009.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a multi-system disease. Pulmonary manifestations and complications include pleural disease, pulmonary infections, pneumonitis and interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, bronchogenic carcinoma, arteritis with pulmonary hypertension, obliterative bronchiolitis, bronchiectasis, and amyloidosis. Pulmonary rheumatoid nodules, including rheumatoid pneumoconiosis (Caplan's Syndrome), can result in spontaneous pneumothorax. In this article, the authors present a patient with rheumatoid arthritis and recurrent spontaneous pneumothorax. Through investigation, a bronchopleural fistula caused by a rheumatoid nodule was revealed. The authors also discuss the potential pitfalls caused by a lung nodule in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis, including the overlap with bronchogenic carcinoma and confusion with tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Bronchial Fistula / etiology
  • Fistula / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pleural Diseases / etiology
  • Pneumothorax / etiology*
  • Recurrence
  • Rheumatoid Nodule / complications