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Arizona Thoracic Society Notes

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September 2019 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
November 2018 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
September 2018 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes 
July 2018 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
March 2018 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
January 2018 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
November 2017 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
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March 2017 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
January 2017 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
November 2016 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
July 2016 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
March 2016 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
November 2015 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
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July 2015 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
May 2015 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
March 2015 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
January 2015 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
November 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
September 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
August 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
June 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
May 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
April 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
March 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
February 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
January 2014 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
December 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
November 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
October 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
September 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
August 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
July 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
June 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
May 2013 Council of Chapter Representatives Notes
May 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
April 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes 
March 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
March 2013 Council of Chapter Representatives Meeting 
   and “Hill Day” Notes
February 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
January 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
November 2012 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
October 2012 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
September 2012 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
August 2012 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
August 2012 Special Meeting Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
June 2012 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes
May 2012 Council of Chapter Representatives Meeting


For a complete list of the Arizona Thoracic Society notes click here.

The Arizona Thoracic Society meets every other month in Phoenix, usually on the fourth Wednesday of odd numbered months, from 6:30-8:00  PM at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Hospital located at Shea and 90th Street in Phoenix. During these meetings dinner and case presentations occur.


Entries in empyema (3)


August 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes

The August Arizona Thoracic Society meeting was held on Wednesday, 8/28/2013 at Shea Hospital beginning at 6:30 PM. There were 23 in attendance representing the pulmonary, critical care, sleep, and pathology communities.

A brief discussion was held about the audio-visual aids available. It was generally agreed that our current projector is inadequate. Judd Tillinghast will inquire about using a hospital overhead projector. If that is not possible, it was agreed to purchase a new projector.Plans for telecasting the meeting between Phoenix and Tucson continue. A trial of a link between Shea and the University in Tucson failed. Once the link is successfully established, it is hoped that the meeting can be telecasted.

There were 6 cases presented:

1. Dr. Thomas Colby, pulmonary pathologist from Mayo Clinic Arizona, presented the case of a 10 year old boy with chronic dyspnea for > 4 yrs. He had growth retardation since age 1, a skin rash since age 2 on the limbs, nail dystrophy since age 3 on hands and feet, lacrimal duct stenosis, erythematous lesions on the pinnae, phimosis, interstitial lung disease on radiography, weakly positive p-ANCA, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and hypergammaglobulinemia. He came to lung biopsy. The patient was diagnosed with dyskeratosis congenita which is a disorder of poor telomere maintenance (1). Specifically, the disease is related to one or more mutations which directly or indirectly affect the vertebrate telomerase RNA component (TERC). This patient’s manifestations are fairly typical of the disease. Short telomere length was confirmed.

2. Dr. Colby presented a second case of a 14 year old boy with a history of osteosarcoma. Pulmonary nodules developed and biopsy showed metastatic osteosarcoma. He was given systemic chemotherapy but now has residual nodules that were biopsied. One of the pulmonary nodule resembled bronchoalveolar cell carcinoma.  This is an apparent complication following chemotherapy in adolescent patients (2).

3. Dr. Colby presented the pathology of a patient from the Phoenix VA who underwent lung biopsy for interstitial disease. The pathology was typical for IgG4-related disease with a plasma cell rich lymphohistiocytic infiltrate in the bronchovascular sheath and histopathology showing diffusely stained positive for IgG4 plasma cells (3).

4. Dr. Suresh Uppalapu, a second year pulmonary fellow from Good Samaritan/VA, presented a 59 year old Sudanese male who was transferred to the Good Samaritan ICU in shock. His presenting complaints to the transferring hospital were acute mental status changes, weakness, and chills. He was intubated for hypercarbic respiratory failure. His brother related that the patient had just returned from Sudan three weeks earlier. He had a prior history of a splenectomy. He was hypothermic with a temperature of 32.3°C and a SpO2 of 91% on 100% FiO2 and PEEP of 8. His Glasgow Coma Scale was 3 (lowest possible score). He had many abnormalities on laboratory evaluation, most notably a creatinine of 5.1 mg/dL and a lactic acid of 26.3 mg/dL. The peripheral smear showed malaria parasites typical of falciparum malaria (figure 1).

Figure 1. Peripheral smear showing a gametocyte (red arrow) and trophozoites in various stages from falciparum malaria.

He developed hemoptysis and eventually expired. A preliminary autopsy report has detected aspergillosis in the lung. Invasive aspergillosis has been reported in cases of severe falciparum malaria (4).

5. Dr. Heemesh Seth, also a second year pulmonary fellow from Good Samaritan/VA, presented a case of a 57 year old man with cirrhosis secondary to hepatitis C diagnosed in 1998. He presented with a large right hydrothorax.  Multiple thoracentesis were performed (Table 1).

Table 1. Summary of multiple thoracentesis.

Blood cultures were positive for acinetobacter as was the initial culture from the thoracentesis. He was treated with cephepime. It was felt that his effusion and empyema were most likely secondary to translocation of bacteria to the pleural space from spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. A discussion ensued regarding whether to perform tube thoracostomy. Data is sparse with most literature not favoring a chest tube (5). However, in this patient’s case a chest tube was eventually inserted when he failed to improve. It drained about 2 liters of fluid but the drainage then became minimal and the tube was removed. The patient developed hepato-renal syndrome but was felt not to be a liver transplant candidate. He was transferred to hospice.

6. Dr. Seth also presented a second case of a 66 year old Hispanic man who presented with a large left pleural effusion.  He had a past medical history of systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) with possible rheumatoid arthritis and was being treated with adalimumab, methotrexate, and prednisone. A thoracentesis was done and 2 liters of clear amber fluid was removed. Although be developed fever to 102°F he felt much better the next morning and was discharged. However, his coccidioidomycosis serologies were positive for both IgG and IgM and his complement fixation test were positive at 1:4. Pleural fluid cytology was positive for LE cells. He was continued on prednisone and treated with fluconazole. A discussion developed of whether the effusion was secondary to SLE, coccidioidomycosis, or both. No one knew data but it was felt that it was most prudent to continue the present course while following the patient and awaiting cultures.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at about 8:15 PM. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25, 6:30 PM in Phoenix at Scottsdale Shea Hospital.  

Richard A. Robbins, M.D.


  1. Dokal I. Dyskeratosis congenita in all its forms. Br J Haematol. 2000;110(4):768-79. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  2. Travis WD, Linnoila RI, Horowitz M, Becker RL Jr, Pass H, Ozols R, Gazdar A. Pulmonary nodules resembling bronchioloalveolar carcinoma in adolescent cancer patients. Mod Pathol. 1988;1(5):372-7. [PubMed]
  3. Hurley JR, Leslie KO. IgG4-Related systemic disease of the pancreas with involvement of the lung: a case report and literature review. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2013;7(2):117-130. [CrossRef]
  4. Hocqueloux L, Bruneel F, Pages CL, Vachon F. Fatal invasive aspergillosis complicating severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Clin Infect Dis. 2000;30(6):940-2. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  5. Alonso JC. Pleural effusion in liver disease. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;31(6):698-705. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 

Reference as: Robbins RA. August 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society notes. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2013;7(2):114-6. doi: PDF


March 2013 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes

A dinner meeting was held on Wednesday, 3/20/2013 at Scottsdale Shea beginning at 6:30 PM. There were 14 in attendance representing the pulmonary, critical care, sleep, infectious disease, nursing, and radiology communities.

Copies of the book “Breathing in America: Diseases, Progress, and Hope” were distributed.

Three cases were presented:

  1. Tim Kuberski, infectious diseases from Maricopa, presented a 49 year old woman with a history of alcoholism who presented with RML pneumonia. Despite azithromycin and cephtriaxone she developed progressive respiratory failure and a right pleural effusion. A right chest tube was placed. Cultures of blood and the pleural fluid were negative. She was suspected of having an anaerobic infection. Follow-up CT scan showed abscess formation in her RML with areas of dense consolidation on the left and a left pleural effusion. Discussion focused on whether RML resection should be performed. Most favored a surgical approach.
  2. Andrew Goldstein, thoracic surgery, presented a 48 year old man with a large extrathoracic chest mass who presented with hematuria. The hematuria eventually proved to be secondary to bladder cancer. On CT the approximate 7 cm mass appears to be growing from the manubrium. Biopsy of the mass revealed transitional cell carcinoma. There are clinically no other metastasis. The sternal tumor was resected and the patient has done well and has returned to work.
  3. Tom Ardiles, pulmonary from Maricopa, presented 21 yo woman who presented with pneumonia after a cardiac arrest. She has a history of alcohol and dextroamphetamine abuse. Her procalcitonin levels were elevated. She developed right lower lung consolidation and a right pneumothorax. Sputum grew Pseudomonas. CT shows diffuse grown glass opacities and pneumomediastinum and intertidal emphysema. She has had progressive consolidation on chest x-ray and persistent respiratory failure. A right pleural effusion developed and was drained which also cultured Pseudomonas. She is gradually improving on oscillatory ventilation and antibiotics.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at about 8 PM. The next meeting is Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM at Scottsdale Shea.

Richard A. Robbins, MD

CCR Representative

Arizona Thoracic Society

Reference as: Robbins RA. March 2013 Arizona thoracic society notes. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2013;6(3):148. PDF


January 2012 Arizona Thoracic Society Notes

The January Arizona Thoracic Society meeting was held on 1/11/2012 at Scottsdale Shea beginning at 6:30 PM. There were 30 in attendance representing the pulmonary, radiology, thoracic surgery and allergy communities.

Al Thomas was voted to be clinician of the year nominee from Arizona.

A progress report for 2011 was given by Rick Robbins on the Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care (for a summary of the presentation click here).

Multiple cases were presented:

  1. George Parides presented a 64 year old with a second PPD which was positive. A discussion regarding interpretation of PPDs ensued.
  2. Gerald Swartzberg presented two cases-both had in common a markedly elevated IgE level. These cases created a discussion of the differential diagnosis of an elevated IgE and how to approach patients with this laboratory abnormality.
  3. Paul Conomos presented 2 cases. One was a patient with a pericardial cyst and the other a subcarinal mass. Discussion centered on how to manage patients with asymptomatic subcarinal masses.
  4. Cristian Jivcu presented a case of a left upper lobe 7 cm mass. Bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage was negative. The patient was followed with complete resolution.
  5. Henry Luedy presented a 79 yo with an interstitial lung disease probably secondary to chronic aspiration for 5 years with complete radiologic resolution.
  6. Joshua Jewell presented a case of pneumonia with empyema. Rather than decoritcation the patient was treated with thoracostomy drainage and TPA and DNAase with complete resolution over several weeks.
  7. Manny Mathew followed with a similar case of a pleural effusion treated with TPA which also resolved. Discussion occurred on when it was appropriate to treat patients conservatively with chest tube drainage compared to aggressively with decortication.

There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 21, 6:30 PM at Scottsdale Shea.

Richard A. Robbins, M.D.

Reference as: Robbins RA. January 2012 Arizona thoracic society notes. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care 2012;4:4. (Click here for a PDF version of the Notes)