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


Last 50 Pulmonary Postings

(Click on title to be directed to posting, most recent listed first, CME offerings in Bold)

Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis): Tutorial for Primary Care Professionals
Common Mistakes in Managing Pulmonary Coccidioidomycosis
May 2015 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Pneumonia with a Rash
April 2015 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Get Down
March 2015 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Sticks and Stones May
   Break My Bronchi
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Presenting As Cryptogenic Organizing 
Pneumonia: Case Report
February 2015 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Severe Asthma
January 2015 Pulmonary Case of the Month: More Red Wine, Every
December 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Bronchiolitis in Adults
November 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: BAL Eosinophilia
How Does Genetics Influence Valley Fever? Research Underway Now To
   Answer This Question
October 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: A Big Clot
September 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: A Case for Biblical
Role of Endobronchial Ultrasound in the Diagnosis and Management of
Bronchogenic Cysts: Two Case Descriptions and Literature Review
Azathioprine Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: Case Report
   and Literature Review
August 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: A Physician's Job is 
   Never Done
July 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Where Did It Come From?
June 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: "Petrified"
May 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Stress Relief
Giant Cell Myocarditis: A Case Report and Review of the Literature
April 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: DIP-What?
Wireless Capsule Endo Bronchoscopy
Elevated Tumor Markers In Coccidioidomycosis of the Female Genital Tract
March 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: The Cure May Be Worse
   Than the Disease
February 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Faster Is Not Always
January 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Too Much, Too Late
32 Year Old Man with “Community-Acquired” Pneumonia
December 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Natural
November 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Dalmatian Lungs
October 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: A Hidden Connection
Bronchoscopic Cryoextraction: A Novel Approach for the Removal
   of Massive Endobronchial Blood Clots Causing Acute Airway
September 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Chewing the Cud
IgG4-Related Systemic Disease of the Pancreas with Involvement 
   of the Lung: A Case Report and Literature Review
August 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Aids for Diagnosis
Variation in Southwestern Hospital Charges for Pulmonary
   and Critical Care DRGs
July 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Swan Song
June 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Diagnosis
   Makes a Difference
May 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: the Cure Can be
   Worse than the Disease
April 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: 
   A Suffocating Relationship
Doxycycline Decreases Production of Interleukin-8
   in A549 Human Lung Epithelial Cells
March 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month:
   Don’t Rein Me In
February 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month: 
   One Thing Leads to Another
January 2013 Pulmonary Case of the Month:
   Maybe We Should Call GI
December 2012 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Applying Genetics
November 2012 Pulmonary Case of the Month:
   The Wolves Are at the Door
October 2012 Pulmonary Case of the Month: 
   Hemoptysis from an Uncommon Cause
Acetylcholine Stimulation of Human Neutrophil Chemotactic 
   Activity Is Directly Inhibited by Tiotropium Involving Gq Protein
   and ERK-1/2 Regulation
September 2012 Pulmonary Case of the Month:
   The War on Drugs
Tiotropium Bromide Inhibits Human Monocyte Chemotaxis 


For complete pulmonary listings click here.

The Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care publishes articles broadly related to pulmonary medicine including thoracic surgery, transplantation, airways disease, pediatric pulmonology, anesthesiolgy, pharmacology, nursing  and more. Manuscripts may be either basic or clinical original investigations or review articles. Potential authors of review articles are encouraged to contact the editors before submission, however, unsolicited review articles will be considered.



April 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: DIP-What?

Lewis Wesselius MD


Department of Pulmonary Medicine

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ



History of Present Illness

A 53 year old woman from Indiana was seen who had a history of nonproductive cough for several years.  She had a prior diagnosis of asthma but continued to have cough despite asthma treatment.  She was also treated for gastroesophageal reflux and had a Nissen fundoplication.  This resolved in some improvement in the cough. In May 2013 she noted increasing dyspnea on exertion.

An echocardiogram was performed which was notable for a 16% left ventricular ejection fraction. A thoracic CT demonstrated some nodules and a question was raised of sarcoidosis. She was admitted to a hospital in Indiana and had a biventricular pacemaker placed. Bronchoscopy with transbronchial biopsy was performed with no diagnostic findings. No granulomas were seen on the biopsy. Bronchoalveolar lavage showed a CD4/CD8 ration of 0.84. Optic nerve swelling was noted at that time. Due to the cardiac, pulmonary, and optic nerve findings a clinical diagnosis of sarcoidosis with a dilated cardiomyopathy was made and she was treated with prednisone initially, then a combination of prednisone and methotrexate.


Her past medical history was as above and family history was noncontributory. She does not smoke or drink.


  • Methotrexate 15 mg weekly
  • Prednisone 5 mg daily
  • Furosemide 40 mg daily
  • Potassium chloride 20 meq daily

Physical Examination

Afebrile. SpO2 96% on room air. The physical exam was unremarkable.

Which of the following should be performed at this time?

  1. Pulmonary function testing
  2. Repeat echocardiogram
  3. Repeat thoracic CT scan
  4. 1 and 3
  5. All of the above

Reference as: Wesselius LJ. April 2014 pulmonary case of the month: DIP-what? Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;8(4):195-203. doi: PDF


Wireless Capsule Endo Bronchoscopy

 David M. Baratz, MD

Sandra Till, DO


Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center

Phoenix, AZ


Case Presentation

History of Present Illness

A 67 year-old man presents 10 days after swallowing a capsule endoscopy camera that was never retrieved.  The wireless capsule was swallowed asymptomatically for evaluation of heme positive stools after negative upper and lower endoscopies. Patient noted that the evening after swallowing the camera he developed mild shortness of breath and cough. The cough and shortness of breath were persistent and worsened while lying down and when moving positions. He denied prior issues with swallowing or aspiration.

Review of Systems

Negative other than what is noted above.

PMH, SH, and FH

Past medical history: coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, hyperlipidemia

Surgical history: femoral-popliteal bypass, previous shoulder and back surgery

Social history: 1 pack/day of cigarettes for 50 years, prior alcohol usage but not current, no illicit drugs

Family history: no pulmonary diseases

Physical Exam

Vital signs: temperature 36.7º C, heart rate 86 beats per minute, respiratory rate 15 breaths/min, blood pressure 156/69, and oxygen saturation 97% while breathing  room air

Lungs: bilateral wheezing with left greater than right.

Otherwise examination was normal.


The admission chest x-ray is shown in figure 1.

Figure 1. Chest x-ray with capsule in left main bronchus (arrow).

A thoracic CT scan is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Thoracic non-contrast CT scan with capsule in left main bronchus (arrow).

Bronchoscopy was performed under general anesthesia using a laryngeal mask airway (LMA). Bronchoscopic examination revealed a white capsule lodged in left main bronchus (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Bronchoscopy with capsule in left main bronchus.

A mesh basket was used to retrieve of the capsule from the left main bronchus, but in the carina the capsule slipped out of the basket. Attempts to use snare and retrieval forceps failed due to the slippery plastic housing covering the capsule.  The mesh basket was used again with capture of the capsule. Once the capsule was retrieved, the LMA was removed to avoid en bloc damage to the vocal cord while removing the capsule. The LMA was then reinserted for continued ventilation after the capsule had been obtained.

Figure 4. Intact capsule after removal.

Literature Review

Capsule endoscopy has been available since 2001 and is used for the evaluation of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding and iron deficiency anemia. The retention rate is 1-2%, with capsules typically found in diverticula, hernias, or other bowel abnormalities (1-3). It is reported that approximately 2% of patients will have difficulty or inability to swallow the capsule.  Review of 13 available cases of aspiration of wireless endoscopy capsules revealed that about 50% of the time capsules are spontaneously expulsed by coughing, and the other half requiring bronchoscopic intervention for removal (Table 1).

Table 1. Summary of cases with aspirated wireless endoscopy capsules.

Risks for aspiration include underlying neurologic disease, elderly patients, and patient with previous difficulties with swallowing. Signs of capsule aspiration vary from asymptomatic to shortness of breath, cough, and tachypnea (1-12).

The capsule is a wirelesses, 11 mm X 26 mm capsule with a miniature video camera, light emitting diodes, batteries, transmitter, and an antenna. It is slippery, nonbiodegradable, has plastic housing, and weighs less than 4 grams (13).

This case represents a rare, but important complication of wireless capsule endoscopy requiring evaluation and possible intervention. Although this complication is rare, it is likely we will see increasing frequency as capsule utilization increases.


  1. Guy T, Jouneau S, D'Halluin PN, Lena H. Asymptomatic bronchial aspiration of a video capsule. Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2009;8(5):568-70. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  2. Depriest K, Wahla AS, Blair R, Fein B, Chin R Jr. Capsule endoscopy removal through flexible bronchoscopy. Respiration. 2010;79(5):421-4. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  3. Koulaouzidis A, Pendlebury J, Douglas S, Plevris JN. Aspiration of video capsule: rare but potentially life-threatening complication to include in your consent form. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(6):1602-3. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  4. Choi HS, Kim JO, Kim HG, Lee TH, Kim WJ, Cho WY, Cho JY, Lee JS. A case of asymptomatic aspiration of a capsule endoscope with a successful resolution. Gut Liver. 2010;4(1):114-6. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Buchkremer F, Herrmann T, Stremmel W. Mild respiratory distress after wireless capsule endoscopy. Gut. 2004;53(3):472. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. Ding NS, Hair C, De Cruz P, Watson J. Education and Imaging. Gastrointestinal: symptomatic bronchial aspiration of capsule endoscope - a significant complication. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;28(5):761. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. Nathan SR, Biernat L. Aspiration--an important complication of small-bowel video capsule endoscopy. Endoscopy. 2007;39 Suppl 1:E343. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  8. Pezzoli A, Fusetti N, Carella A, Gullini S. Asymptomatic bronchial aspiration and prolonged retention of a capsule endoscope: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2011;5:341. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  9. Schneider AR, Hoepffner N, Rösch W, Caspary WF. Aspiration of an M2A capsule. Endoscopy. 2003;35(8):713. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  10. Bredenoord AJ, Stolk MF, Al-toma A.Tabib S, Fuller C, Daniels J, Lo SK. Unintentional video capsule bronchoscopy. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009;21(5):593. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  11. Tabib S, Fuller C, Daniels J, Lo SK.Sepehr A, Albers GC, Armstrong WB. Asymptomatic aspiration of a capsule endoscope. Gastrointest Endosc. 2004;60(5):845-8. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. Sepehr A, Albers GC, Armstrong WB. Aspiration of a capsule endoscope and description of a unique retrieval technique. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;137(6):965-6. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. Kelley SR, Lohr JM. Retained wireless video enteroscopy capsule: a case report and review of the literature. J Surg Educ. 2009;66(5):296-300. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Reference as: Baratz DM, Till S. Wireless capsule endo bronchoscopy. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;8(3):183-7. doi: PDF


Elevated Tumor Markers In Coccidioidomycosis of the Female Genital Tract

Ying Wu, MD1

Stacy Arnold2

Tim Kuberski, MD3


1Department of Internal Medicine and the 3Section of Infectious Disease

Maricopa Medical Center

Phoenix, Arizona

2University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona



The female genital tract is rarely involved by coccidioidomycosis. We describe a woman with disseminated coccidioidomycosis involving the female pelvic organs associated with elevated tumor markers CA 125 and CA 19-9. She had no fevers and the initial clinical suspicion was a malignancy because of the elevated tumor markers. At exploratory laparotomy a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy were performed because of the suspicion of a malignancy. Subsequent pathology demonstrated coccidioidomycosis involving the female genital tract and no malignancy. The abnormal CA 125 and CA 19-9 returned to normal after surgical resection and treatment of the coccidioidomycosis.


Dissemination of coccidioidomycosis to the female genital tract is an unusual complication of that fungal infection (1). This report describes a woman with disseminated coccidioidomycosis which mimicked a malignancy of the female genital tract. The initial clinical suspicion was a malignancy because of the elevation of carbohydrate antigen tumor markers CA125 and CA19-9.

Case Report

A 48-year-old Hispanic woman with a history of adult onset diabetes and menorrhagia presented with left lower quadrant pain.  She denied fever, chills or sweats.  She gave no history of “Valley Fever” or pneumonia.  Physical examination was significant for left lower quadrant abdominal tenderness without rebound or guarding.  CT of the abdomen and pelvis showed free fluid within the pelvis, masses within the uterus, left hydronephrosis and bilateral cystic masses of the adnexa. She was anemic and thrombocytopenic with a hemoglobin of 7.8 g/dL and platelet count of 51,000/mm3.  She received blood and platelet transfusions and was given oral prednisone 80 mg once daily for five days which was associated with improvement of her platelet count to normal. Certain tumor markers were found to be elevated a CA 125 of 475.7 (normal range: 0-35 U/mL) and CA 19-9 of 133 (normal range: 0–37 U/mL). A carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) was not elevated 1.9 (normal range 0-2.5 ng/ml). Her diabetes was controlled. The left hydronephrosis was treated with a ureteral stent and nephrostomy.  An endometrial biopsy was consistent with benign endocervical and endometrial tissue.  Percutaneous drainage of the left ovarian cyst fluid showed no malignant cells and no abscess.  A plain chest x-ray was interpreted as normal, however a CT scan of the chest showed a left lower lobe lesion which was biopsied and found to be consistent with an old Coccidioides granuloma.  Because of the concern for a pelvic malignancy, an exploratory laparotomy was done and a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy was performed.  The pathology of the surgical specimen showed Coccidioides with necrotizing granulomas and spherules in the round ligament, uterus, endometrium, bilateral ovaries and fallopian tubes (Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Hematoxylin and eosin stain of round ligament showing necrotizing granulomas associated with Coccidioides spherules (arrows). Empty Coccidioides  spherule in inset.

Following the operation, she was started on oral fluconazole 400mg daily and followed as an outpatient. Her complement fixation titer for Coccidioides was positive at 1:64 on discharge, increased to 1:256 one month later and then declined to 1:8 five months later. At five months follow-up she was asymptomatic and back to her premorbid state. She was to remain on fluconazole indefinitely.  Postoperatively the CA 125 and CA 19-9 returned to normal at 12.3 and 12.0 respectively after fifty days (Table 1). 

Table 1. Tumor Marker Values Before and Fifty Days After Surgical Resection.



Dissemination of Coccidioides to the female pelvic organs is unusual. In a series of 142 necropsies of patients who died of coccidioidomycosis, none of the thirty-three females had involvement of the genital tract (2).  Presumptively the fungus spreads endogenously from the lung as in our patient. It is notable that the lung lesion in this patient was initially thought to be a malignancy. However, when “old Coccidioides granuloma” was reported, it was not associated with her genital tract problem by the treating physicians. We were able to find seventeen previously reported cases of coccidioidomycosis involving the female genital tract since the first report in 1929 (3-7). In those cases of Coccidioides involving the genital tract, there was no combination of investigations or clinical features that were sensitive enough to diagnose the female genital tract infection preoperatively. In fourteen of the eighteen patients (including our patient) with Coccidioides serologic test results, thirteen had a positive titer of 1:16 or greater (3-6).

In all eighteen cases the diagnosis of Coccidioides involving the genital tract was made only post-operatively after the microscopic examination of surgical specimens. Treatment of female genital tract coccidioidomycosis generally requires surgical resection of the involved tissues and antifungal agents (3). Cure of pelvic coccidioidomycosis by surgical resection alone, without antifungal therapy, has been reported in at least 5 cases (3,7). However, deaths attributable to disseminated coccidioidomycosis with involvement of the genital tract despite treatment and surgery have been reported (8). Quantitative serologic testing can be useful in making the diagnosis and following the response to treatment. The complement fixation titers to Coccidioides would be expected to decrease with treatment and clinical improvement. Our patient’s complement fixation titer went from a high of 1:256 to 1:8 after surgical resection and five months of treatment. In general, patients with disseminated coccidioidomycosis will respond to fluconazole, but the duration of therapy can be protracted for years.

Early in the course of our patient’s workup, she was found to have elevated CA 125 and CA 19-9 levels, raising the suspicion of a malignancy. In general, tumor markers should not be used as a screening test for malignancy and are most useful for following the response to treatment. In this patient the response was to antifungal therapy rather than chemotherapy. We believe the tumor markers were elevated due to the inflammatory response to the Coccidioides infection (4,9). CA 125 is most commonly monitored in the management of ovarian carcinoma.  However, it is only 75-80% sensitive in patients with ovarian cancer and can also be elevated in a variety of benign conditions such as infection (10).  In addition to the ovarian cancer cells, benign endometrial and peritoneal mesothelial cells can also secrete CA 125 (11). It appears that any process causing serosal inflammation may elevate CA 125. Thus non-tumorous conditions such as pelvic tuberculosis can result in sufficient inflammation to cause an increased CA 125 level (12). CA 19-9 is a serum marker associated with pancreatic cancer, but it also can be elevated in non-cancerous conditions such as pancreatitis, endometriosis and in diabetics with poor glycemic control (10,13).

Both CA 125 and CA 19-9 can be elevated in noncancerous conditions such as infection and presumed to be the reason for the elevation in our patient. Her surgical histopathology showed concomitant endometriosis of the round ligament, uterine serosa and both ovaries (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Hematoxylin and eosin stain of ovary showing changes consistent with endometriosis (arrow).

This was in addition to the necrotizing granulomas containing Coccidioides spherules (Figure 1). Increased levels of CA 125 have been reported previously in three patients with Coccidioides involving pelvic organs (4,5,7), but there have been no reports of elevated serum CA 19-9 levels.  Endometriosis alone can cause both CA 125 and CA 19-9 to be increased (14,15), however the mechanism by which these markers become elevated is not completely understood. It has been postulated that chronic inflammation causes an epithelial reaction that results in the leakage of the tumor markers into the circulation (14,15).  Endometriosis due to a variety of infectious etiologies can cause serum CA 125 levels to be elevated and they can precipitously decrease following surgical intervention, as in our patient (4,5). CA 19-9 levels have also been found to return to normal following surgical intervention for endometriosis (16). We presume that the elevated tumor markers in our patient were the result of similar inflammatory mechanisms observed for both CA 125 and CA 19-9. We suspect the reason that CA 19-9 levels have not been reported previously is that this test would be ordered less frequently in patients suspected of having a pelvic malignancy. Our patient had a normal CEA level consistent with a lack of involvement of the gastrointestinal tract by coccidioidomycosis.

Another potential source of Coccidioides infecting the female genital tract is sexual transmission. We could find no references to document sexual transmission of Coccidioides. However, transmission from a man with prostate involvement to a woman who developed an infection of her genital tract could occur, but our patient’s husband had no prostate disease, no history of Valley Fever and his Coccidioides serology was negative. Coccidioides has been documented to mimic a variety of malignancies such as breast cancer, bronchogenic carcinoma, osteosarcoma and lymphoma (6). It is notable that the first reported case of coccidioidomycosis in 1892 was initially misdiagnosed as mycosis fungoides (6). Coccidioidomycosis is known to have protean manifestations and in this patient it mimicked a female genital tract malignancy. This case is unique because a Coccidioides infection was documented and associated with the elevation of tumor markers CA 19-9 and CA 125, which returned to normal following treatment and surgical resection of the involved tissues. Involvement of the female genital tract by coccidioidomycosis may be uncommon, but in endemic areas it should be a consideration in the differential diagnosis in women with a suspected pelvic malignancy and elevated levels of CA 125 and CA 19-9.


  1. Saw EC, Smale LE, Einstein H, Huntington RW,Jr. Female genital coccidioidomycosis. Obstet Gynecol. 1975;45:199-202. [PubMed] 
  2. Huntington RW Jr., Waldmann WJ, Sargent JA, O'Connell H, Wybel R, Croll D. pathological and clinical observations in 142 cases of fatal coccidioidomycosis on necropsy. In Ajello L, ed. Proceedings of the Second Coccidioidomycosis Symposium. Tuscon, The University of Arizona Press.1967:143-167.
  3. Chowfin A, Tight R. Female genital coccidioidomycosis (FGC), Addison's disease and sigmoid loop abscess due to Coccidioides immites; case report and review of literature on FGC. Mycopathologia. 1999;145:121-126. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. Ellis MW, Dooley DP, Sundborg MJ, Joiner LL, Kost ER. Coccidioidomycosis mimicking ovarian cancer. Obstet Gynecol. 2004;104:1177-1179. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  5. Micha JP, Goldstein BH, Robinson PA, Rettenmaier MA, Brown JV. Abdominal/pelvic Coccidioidomycosis. Gynecol Oncol. 2005;96:256-258. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. Crum-Cianflone NF, Truett AA, Teneza-Mora N, et al. Unusual presentations of coccidioidomycosis: a case series and review of the literature. Medicine (Baltimore). 2006;85:263-277. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  7. Smith G, Hoover S, Sobonya R, Klotz SA. Abdominal and pelvic coccidioidomycosis. Am J Med Sci. 2011;341:308-311. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. Bylund DJ, Nanfro JJ, Marsh WL,Jr. Coccidioidomycosis of the female genital tract. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1986;110:232-235. [PubMed] 
  9. Bast RC,Jr, Xu FJ, Yu YH, Barnhill S, Zhang Z, Mills GB. CA 125: the past and the future. Int J Biol Markers. 1998;13:179-187. [PubMed] 
  10. Cancer antigen 125. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013 : 5 Books in 1. 1st ed. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:1452-1453.
  11. Sevinc A, Camci C, Turk HM, Buyukberber S. How to interpret serum CA 125 levels in patients with serosal involvement? A clinical dilemma. Oncology. 2003;65:1-6. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  12. Sheth SS. Elevated CA 125 in advanced abdominal or pelvic tuberculosis. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1996;52:167-171. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. Yu H, Li R, Zhang L, Chen H, Bao Y, Jia W. Serum CA19-9 level associated with metabolic control and pancreatic beta cell function in diabetic patients. Exp Diabetes Res. 2012;2012:745189. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  14. Kurata H, Sasaki M, Kase H, Yamamoto Y, Aoki Y, Tanaka K. Elevated serum CA125 and CA19-9 due to the spontaneous rupture of ovarian endometrioma. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2002;105:75-76. [CrossRef]  [PubMed]
  15. Park BJ, Kim TE, Kim YW. Massive peritoneal fluid and markedly elevated serum CA125 and CA19-9 levels associated with an ovarian endometrioma. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2009;35:935-939. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 
  16. Takemori M, Sugimura K. Ovarian chocolate cyst with markedly elevated serum CA19-9 level: a case report. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1991;42:241-244. [CrossRef] [PubMed] 

Reference as: Wu Y, Arnold S, Kuberski T. Elevated tumor markers in coccidiomyocosis of the female genital tract. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;8(3):170-5. doi: PDF


March 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: The Cure May Be Worse Than the Disease

Sudheer Penupolu, MD 

Philip J. Lyng, MD

Lewis J. Wesselius, MD 


Department of Pulmonary Medicine

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ


History of Present Illness

A 51 year old woman was seen with a chief complaint of gradually increasing shortness of breath. She was at baseline five months prior to presentation but noticed dyspnea on minimal exertion initially at a higher altitude, gradually progressing to dyspnea at rest. She was tried on 2 courses of antibiotics with no significant improvement. In addition to the dyspnea, she has some non productive cough but no fevers.


She had a renal transplant in 1997 for IgA disease and has a history of type II diabetes and hypertension.

She is a life long nonsmoker and has only occasional alcohol use. She is employed as a utility designer and has no exposure to any dusts, fumes or exotic animals.

Family history is noncontributory.


  • Atenolol
  • Lasix
  • Prednisone 2 mg q daily
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Sirolimus 2 mg po q daily

There have been no changes in the doses in the past few years.

Physical Examination

Physical examination reveals no abnormalities and her lung auscultation is clear.


Her complete blood count (CBC), urinanalysis, liver function tests, and calcium were all within normal limits.


An x-ray of the chest is shown in Figure 1. 

Figure 1. Initial PA chest radiograph.

Which of the below is the best interpretation of her chest x-ray?

  1. Cardiomegaly
  2. Left upper lobe consolidation
  3. Normal
  4. Right upper lobe consolidation
  5. All of the above

Reference as: Penupolu S, Lyng PJ, Wesselius LJ. March 2014 pulmonary case of the month: the cure may be worse than the disease. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;8(3):142-51. PDF



February 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: Faster Is Not Always Better

Lewis Wesselius MD


Department of Pulmonary Medicine

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ


History of Present Illness

A 56 year old woman with a history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for 26 years was seen as an outpatient. She has a recent history of increased cough, sputum and dyspnea.


She was originally from India but had lived in Singapore from 2011 to June 2013 before moving to Phoenix. In 2009, she was diagnosed with Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare (MAI) on bronchoscopy and started on azithromycin, ethambutol, and rifabutin. She was unable to tolerate rifabutin but was continued on ethambutol and azithromycin. She had been on etanercept for her RA which was held after the diagnosis of MAI. She had negative sputum cultures for MAI in September 2012 and her ethambutol and azithromycin were stopped. In May 2013 she had increased symptoms and bronchoscopy demonstrated Pseudomonas and nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM). She was treated with cefipime/ciprofloxacin for 6 weeks prior to moving to Phoenix.

She does not smoke or drink. Her FH is noncontributory.


  • Celecoxib 200 mg bid
  • Gabapentin 600 bid
  • Methotrexate 15 mg weekly
  • Prednisone 5 mg daily
  • Tramadol 50 mg every 4 hours prn

Physical Examination

Afebrile. SpO2 96% on room air.

Chest: scattered crackles in both lungs, no wheezes.

There were joint deformities typical of chronic RA, but otherwise the remainder of the physical exam was unremarkable.


She brings a CT scan from 2009 (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. Panels A-D: Representative static axial lung images from a thoracic CT scan performed in 2009. Lower panel: movie of selected lung images from the thoracic CT scan performed in 2009.

What should be done next? (Click on correct answer to move to next panel)

  1. Repeat the CT scan
  2. Restart ethambutol and azithromycin
  3. Sputum culture
  4. 1 + 3
  5. All of the above

Reference as: Wesselius LJ. February 2014 pulmonary case of the month: faster is not always better. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014:8(2):74-8. doi: PDF