Peter G. Gibson, MBBS; David H. Bryant, MDBS; Graeme W. Morgan, MBBS; Michael Yeates, MBBS; Viviene Fernandez, MBBS; Ronald Penny, MDBS, DSc; Samuel N. Breit, MDBS
Radiation pneumonitis occurs 6 to 12 weeks after thoracic irradiation, and is thought to be due to direct radiation-induced lung injury. Four patients who developed pneumonitis after unilateral thoracic irradiation for carcinoma of the breast were studied with bronchoalveolar lavage, gallium scan of the lung, and respiratory function tests. On the irradiated side of the chest, all four patients showed an increase in total cells recovered from the lavage fluid and a marked increase in the percentage of lymphocytes. When results for the unirradiated lung were compared with results for the irradiated lung, there was a comparable increase in total cells and percentage of lymphocytes. Gallium scans showed increases for both irradiated and unirradiated lungs. Prompt improvement was seen after corticosteroid therapy in all patients. The fact that abnormal findings occur equally in irradiated and unirradiated lung is inconsistent with simple direct radiation-induced injury and suggests an immunologically mediated mechanism such as a hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Gibson PG, Bryant DH, Morgan GW, et al. Radiation-Induced Lung Injury: A Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis?. Ann Intern Med. 1988;109:288–291. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-109-4-288
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1988;109(4):288-291.
Interstitial Lung Disease, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
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