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May 2015 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes

The May 2015 Arizona Thoracic Society meeting was held on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at the Scottsdale Shea Hospital beginning at 6:30 PM. This was a dinner meeting with case presentations. There were 16 in attendance representing the pulmonary, critical care, sleep, and radiology communities.

Ms. Georgann VanderJagt, RN, MSN gave an update on clinical trials at Dignity Health including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. To contact Ms. VanderJagt call her office at 602-406-3825, her cell at 602-615-2377 or by email at  

Dr. Michael Smith, the surgical director for the lung transplant program at Dignity Health, gave an overview of their lung transplant program. They are currently the fifth busiest transplant program in the US.  They have done 46 lung transplants so far this year. They are on a par with UCLA in number of transplants and survival has been at the National average. Average wait time is only abut 2 weeks. He also discussed recent and ongoing transplant protocols. To contact Dr. Smith call 602-406-7564.

There were 4 case presentations:

  1. Jud Tillinghast presented a case of a large man who was short of breath. His CT scan showed multiple calcifications in the lower lobes. It was felt that clinically he was most likely aspirating as a cause of the calcifications.
  2. Gerald Swartzberg presented a case of a large man who had some minimal dyspnea and an elevated right hemidiaphragm. His chest x-ray showed consolidation in this right lower lung. He had been seen at the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Lewis Wesselius reviewed his pathology from a needle biopsy of a right lower lobe nodule which was nonspecific. Reviewing his case he also had a biopsy from Sloan Kettering in 2006 which was also nonspecific. Further history was obtained and the patient admitted he was using Vick's Vaporub in his nose since he was 7 years old. It was unclear if this was the cause of his right lower lobe consolidation.
  3. Dr. Swartzberg presented a second case of a 70-year-old woman with multiple medical problems. She has a cockatiel but is remarkably asymptomatic. A chest x-ray was taken showed nonspecific lower lobe changes. Pulmonary function tests showed a reduced vital capacity but a normal to high total lung capacity. A DLCO was not able to be obtained. CT scan showed small nodules with ground glass in her lower lobes. It was felt that most likely this was a hypersensitivity pneumonitis secondary to her bird. She got rid of the bird but did not improve.  The cause of her abnormal pulmonary radiology remains unclear.
  4. Dr. Wesselius presented a case of a patient with a chronic cough which had been treated with antibiotics and corticosteroids. When he as on oral corticosteroids he was perhaps somewhat better. He was seen at the University of Massachusetts without a diagnosis being made. He subsequently moved to the Phoenix area and was evaluated at the Mayo Clinic. Chest x-ray showed consolidation in his right upper lobe. On bronchoscopy he had some whitish plaques along his trachea and main bronchi. Bronchoalveolar lavage showed 89% eosinophils and his transbronchial biopsy was consistent with chronic eosinophilic pneumonia. Apparently, this association has previously been sporadically reported. He was started on prednisone and improved.

Dr. Jud Tillinghast was acknowledged as the Arizona Thoracic Society Clinician of the Year and one of the four finalists as ATS Clinician of the Year.

After a brief discussion, the membership agreed to encourage and help Nevada form a state thoracic society.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned about 8 PM. The next meeting will be in Phoenix at Scottsdale Shea on Wednesday, July 22 at 6:30 PM.

Richard A. Robbins, MD

Editor, SWJPCC

Reference as: Robbins RA. May 2015 Arizona thoracic society notes. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2015;10(5):304-5. doi: PDF

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