Organizing pneumonia revisited: insights and uncertainties from a series of 67 patients

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A. L. Vieira
A. Vale
P. Caetano Mota
J. M. Jesus
R. Cunha
S. Guimarães
C. Souto Moura
A. Morais



Background: Organizing pneumonia (OP) is classified as an acute/subacute pneumonia according to the American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement (2013 update). Although its clinical presentation, radiologic and histologic features are well established, data on the relevance of potential causes, corticosteroid doses and length, or management of relapses are based on heterogeneous series of patients. Objectives: The aims of this study were to describe clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of OP, explore potential causes, discuss strategies for managing relapses, and analyze prognostic factors. We also discuss our findings in relation to relevant data in the literature. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of all patients diagnosed with OP at a tertiary referral center in northern Portugal between 2008 and 2015. Results: Sixty-seven patients were diagnosed with OP over the 7-year study period. Dyspnea and cough were the most common presenting symptoms and approximately 30% of patients were hospitalized at the time of diagnosis. Approximately half of the patients were receiving drugs described as potential causes of OP. Microorganisms were isolated in approximately one-third of patients. Other potential causes identified were hematologic disorders, neoplasms, connective tissue diseases, myelodysplastic syndromes, immunodeficiencies, radiotherapy, and bird exposure. Cryptogenic OP was diagnosed in just 16 patients (23.8%). Corticosteroids were the most common treatment and 11 patients (16.4%) experienced relapse. Conclusions: The findings for this series of patients confirm the extreme variability of the contexts in which OP can occur and suggest that rather than a distinct, homogeneous clinicopathologic entity, OP is a non-specific reaction whose outcomes are dependent on the cause.


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