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Emerging clinical picture of lymphangioleiomyomatosis


Objective: To provide a comprehensive update of the clinical picture of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) using two large patient registries.

Methods: A cross sectional questionnaire survey which included questions on 14 LAM symptoms, pneumothorax, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), date of diagnosis, and pulmonary function tests (PFTs).

Results: The response rate was 70.5% (n = 328). The mean age at the time of the survey was 46.7 years. The mean age at diagnosis was 42.7 years for women diagnosed 1 year before the survey and 35.8 years for women diagnosed 10 years previously. The main symptoms were dyspnoea (74%), fatigue (72%), cough (47%) and chest pain (44%); younger patients (<40 years) were less likely to report dyspnoea (p = 0.02). Patients with TSC (n = 51) were less likely to report dyspnoea (p = 0.05) and 76.5% reported angiomyolipoma (p<0.0001) compared with patients with sporadic LAM. Patients with pneumothorax (63.0%) were less likely to report dyspnoea or fatigue (p⩽0.05) than patients without pneumothorax. PFT results showed that low forced expiratory volume in 1 second and carbon monoxide transfer factor were highly associated with dyspnoea (p<0.0001), but not with fatigue or history of pneumothorax.

Conclusion: Previously considered a condition of women of childbearing age, more older women (50% without pneumothorax) are now being diagnosed with LAM. LAM should be considered in women over 40 with unexplained dyspnoea. LAM patients with pneumothorax have less fatigue and less dyspnoea than those without pneumothorax. Fatigue has been overlooked as a symptom of LAM and appears across the spectrum of pulmonary function.

  • AML, angiomyolipoma
  • FEV1, forced expiratory volume in 1 second
  • FVC, forced vital capacity
  • LAM, lymphangioleio-myomatosis
  • PFT, pulmonary function test
  • RV, residual volume
  • TLC, total lung capacity
  • Tlco, carbon monoxide transfer factor
  • TSC, tuberous sclerosis complex
  • lymphangioleiomyomatosis
  • tuberous sclerosis
  • pneumothorax
  • dyspnoea
  • pulmonary function tests

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