Pulmonary vaso-occlusive disease
In most cases, the cause of pulmonary veno-occlusive disease is unknown. The condition may be related to a viral infection. It may occur as a complication of certain diseases such as lupus, or as a complication of leukemia, lymphoma, chemotherapy, or bone marrow transplantation.
The disorder is most common among children and young adults. As the disease gets worse, it causes narrowed pulmonary veins, pulmonary hypertension, congestion, and swelling of the lungs.
The doctor will perform a physical exam.
The exam may reveal:
Your doctor may hear abnormal heart sounds when listening to the chest and lungs with a stethoscope. This type of exam is called auscultation.
The following tests may be done:
The outcome is often very poor in infants with a survival rate of just a few weeks. Survival may be months to a few years in adults.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder.
- Progressive difficulty breathing
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Right sided heart failure (cor pulmonale)
- Coughing up blood
There is currently no known effective medical treatment. However, the following medications may be helpful for some patients:
- Vasodilator drugs (drugs that widen the blood vessels)
- Drugs that control immune system's response (such as azathioprine or steroids)
A lung transplant may be needed.
Schwarz MI, Collard HR, King TE. Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage and other rare infiltrative disorders. In: Mason RJ, Murray J, Broaddus VC, Nadel J. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2005:chap. 56.
Review Date: 6/10/2008
Reviewed By: Sean O. Stitham, MD, private practice in Internal Medicine, Seattle, Washington; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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