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September 2017 Pulmonary Case of the Month

Lewis J. Wesselius, MD

Department of Pulmonary Medicine

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ USA


History of Present Illness

A 67-year-old woman with history of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) was referred due to a 6-week history severe cough. Her CLL had recently relapsed and she was begun on ibrutinib (a small molecule drug that binds permanently to Bruton's tyrosine kinase) in addition to acyclovir, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim and allopurinol.

Past Medical History, Social History and Family History

Her CLL was initially diagnosed in 2009 and had responded to fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab. She had no other chronic medical diseases. She smoked ½ pack per day but quit with the development of her cough. Family history was noncontributory.

Physical Examination

Her vital signs were unremarkable and she was afebrile but did cough frequently during the examination. There were shoddy small lymph nodes noted in both supraclavicular and axillary areas. Lungs were clear and the rest of the physical examination was unremarkable.

Laboratory Evaluation

Her complete blood count revealed her to be mildly anemic with a hemoglobin of 9.0 g/dL, an elevated white count of 33,700 cells/mcL with 88% lymphocytes, and a low platelet count of 60,000 cells/mcL. Her electrolytes were within normal limits and her blood urea nitrogen was 20 mg/dL, creatinine 1.1 mg/dL and uric acid 7.1 mg/dL.

Chest Radiography

A chest x-ray was performed (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Initial chest x-ray.

Which of the following is true? (Click on the correct answer to proceed to the second of five pages)

  1. A pulmonary nodule is present in the left upper lobe (LUL)
  2. Ibrutinib is well known to cause a chronic cough
  3. Pneumonia is unlikely since she is afebrile
  4. 1 and 3
  5. All of the above

Cite as: Wesselius LJ. September 2017 pulmonary case of the month. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;15(3):94-9. doi: PDF

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