Mucous membrane pemphigoid with fatal bronchial involvement in a seventeen-year-old girl.

PubMed ID: 16670490

Author(s): Gamm DM, Harris A, Mehran RJ, Wood M, Foster CS, Mootha VV. Mucous membrane pemphigoid with fatal bronchial involvement in a seventeen-year-old girl. Cornea. 2006 May;25(4):474-8. PMID 16670490

Journal: Cornea, Volume 25, Issue 4, May 2006

PURPOSE This study was designed to report a case of biopsy-proven mucous membrane pemphigoid with severe bronchial involvement in a young woman.

METHODS Case report of a 17-year-old girl who presented with worsening dyspnea, skin rash, and bilateral ocular injection, symblepharon, and fornix foreshortening. Conjunctival, skin, and bronchial biopsies were performed along with imaging and serological tests in an effort to establish a diagnosis for this unusual constellation of findings. The surprising occurrence of a cerebrovascular accident during her hospitalization also prompted a search for a concurrent coagulation disorder.

RESULTS Immunofluorescence studies of conjunctival, skin, and bronchial tissue specimens revealed deposition of multiple antibody classes at the basement membrane zone. The patient also possessed circulating basement membrane zone antibodies in her serum and a significant titer of antiphospholipid antibodies. She underwent dilation and stent placement for subglottic tracheal and left bronchial stenosis and was treated with immunosuppressive agents. After a favorable initial response, the patient experienced progressive bronchial stenosis and respiratory compromise, culminating in her death from bronchospasm and cardiopulmonary arrest.

CONCLUSION To our knowledge, this is the first report of mucous membrane pemphigoid involving the lower airways that was confirmed by immunofluorescence analysis. It highlights the potentially lethal, systemic nature of mucous membrane pemphigoid and underscores the need to question patients about symptoms of respiratory dysfunction.