Extrinsic allergic alveolitis in domestic environments (Domestic allergic alveolitis) caused by mouldy tapestry

Schwarz; Wettengel; Kramer

European Journal of Medical Research 5(3): 125


ISSN/ISBN: 2047-783X
PMID: 10756168
Accession: 046060979

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Extrinsic allergic alveolitis often occures as bird fancier's lung or is caused by occupational treatment with antigenic materials. In housing environments antigens of allergic alveolitis are also found, especially mould fungi. lf a source of antigens is absent in the anamnesis and the clinical picture as well as the clinical findings are ambiguous, the diagnosis of extrinsic allergic alveolits is delayed or unobtained. The following example shows that in spite of a detailed allergic anamnesis the source of antigens may remain occult and only an inspection of the dwelling rooms leads to an elucidation. - A sixty-one year old non-smoking women was twice admitted to hospital with a temperature of more than 39 degrees C, intense dyspnea on exertion and a strong dry cough under the persumed diagnosis pneumonia. The laboratory values showed nonspecific signs of inflammation, the blood gas analysis was changed to a heavy hypoxemia (pO subset2 49.2 mmHg) and in the chest x-ray there were seen miliary and partly reticular alterations. The chest computed tomography showed extensive densities in both upper and lower parts of the lungs and the pulmonary function test corresponded with a low-grade to middle-grade restriction (VC subsetin = 67%, TLC = 69%). A high dose of corticosteroids produced an improvement of the radiological findings and of the pulmonary function. Also the specialized diagnostic in a hospital for pulmonary diseases yielded no new knowledge, and an interstitial pneumonia was diagnosed. Only the new formation of an acute pneumonic clinical picture on the day of returning to the patients own habitation suggested a noxious substance in the domestic environment. The inspection of the rooms finally showed the source of antigen to be from a condensation water soaked, moulded tapestry on the embrasure of a small unopenable window in the bedroom just on the head of the bed. The nutritive mediums left in the rooms furnished evidence of the mould-species Penicillium, Cladosporium and Botrytis, in the bedroom however mostly Penicillium. The RAST of specific IgG proved a positive result of all three mould species (Penicillium sp. 1 : 100, Cladosporium sp. 1 : 200 and Botrytis sp. 1 : 200). The diagnosis of an extrinsic allergic alveolitis caused by mould was confirmed by a controlled re-exposure test, which promptly gave rise to a relapse and forced the patient to change habitation with the result of no further ailments. - Characteristic for the extrinsic allergic alveolitis in the described case is the inefficiency of antibiotic therapy, the immediate recovery by corticosteroids and furthermore the outbreak of relapses caused by re-exposure. If the source of antigens is unclear, the inspection of the habitation by an experienced allergologist may lead to success.