Search Journal-type in search term and press enter
Social Media-Follow Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care on Facebook and Twitter

December 2015 Pulmonary Case of the Month

Zachary M. Berg, MD

Kashif Yaqub, MD 

Brian Wojek, MD

Khang Tran, MD

Karen L. Swanson, DO


Department of Pulmonary Medicine

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ


History of Present Illness

The patient is a 70-year-old man with a history of a chronic dry cough for 5 years, who presented to the emergency department with worsening cough and shortness of breath.

Two weeks prior to symptom onset, was on trip in the United Kingdom, he developed gastroenteritis which spontaneously resolved.

Past Medical History, Social History, and Family History

  • Old healed TB scar with positive PPD at 17 years of age prior to joining Air Force.  No treatment given and patient was asymptomatic from a pulmonary point of view since then.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin on the scalp, status post excision complicated by osteomyelitis, status post surgical graft from hip with prolonged course of IV antibiotics in 2010.
  • Fractured left clavicle, status post repair 20 years ago.
  • Hay fever.
  • Hyperlipidemia.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma removed from left arm.
  • Varicose veins, lower extremity.
  • Married. Retired police officer. Does not smoke.
  • Family history is noncontributory

Physical Examination

  • General:  In moderate respiratory distress.  
  • Vitals: SpO2 on room air of 65%, 94% on high flow oxygen.  Blood pressure 124/84, afebrile  
  • Lungs:  Fine bibasilar crackles posteriorly.  
  • Heart: Regular rhythm without murmur.
  • The remainder of the physical examination was normal.

Laboratory Evaluation

  • CBC: unremarkable except white blood cell count 20.5 x 103 cells/ɥL, neutrophil predominant
  • BNP: 366 pg/mL
  • Mycobacterium Quantiferon: Positive
  • Mycoplasma IgM: Positive at 1.18 U/L


Initial chest x-ray is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Initial chest x-ray.

What is the best next step in the patient's evaluation? (Click on the correct answer to proceed to the second of five panels)

  1. Begin erythromycin or doxycycline for Mycoplasma pneumonia
  2. Begin heparin for presumptive pulmonary embolism
  3. Thoracic CT scan
  4. 1 and 3
  5. All of the above

Cite as: Berg ZM, Yaqub K, Wojek B, Tran K, Swanson KL. December 2015 pulmonary case of the month. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2015;11(6):240-5. doi: PDF

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>