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Lipid pneumonia

lipoid pneumonia, lipid pneumonia from vaping
Lipid pneumonia or lipoid pneumonia is a specific form of lung inflammation pneumonia that develops when lipids enter the bronchial tree The disorder is sometimes called cholesterol pneumonia in cases where that lipid is a factor1


  • 1 History
  • 2 Clinical manifestations
  • 3 Causes
  • 4 Appearance
  • 5 Treatment
  • 6 Prognosis
  • 7 References
  • 8 Further reading
  • 9 External links


Laughlen first described lipid pneumonia in 1925 with infants that inhaled oil droplets2 It is a condition that has been seen as an occupational risk for commercial diving operations but documented cases are rare2

Clinical manifestationsedit

The pneumonia presents as a foreign body reaction causing cough, dyspnoea, and often fever Haemoptysis has also been reported3


Sources of such lipids could be either exogenous or endogenous4

Exogenous: from outside the body For example, inhaled nose drops with an oil base, or accidental inhalation of cosmetic oil Amiodarone is an anti-arrythmic known to cause this condition Oil pulling has also been shown to be a cause5 At risk populations include the elderly, developmentally delayed or persons with gastroesophageal reflux Switching to water-soluble alternatives may be helpful in some situations3

Endogenous: from the body itself, for example, when an airway is obstructed, it is often the case that distal to the obstruction, lipid-laden macrophages foamy macrophages and giant cells fill the lumen of the disconnected airspace6


The gross appearance of a lipid pneumonia is that in which there is an ill-defined, pale yellow area on the lung This yellow appearance explains the colloquial term "golden" pneumonia

At the microscopic scale foamy macrophages and giant cells are seen in the airways, and the inflammatory response is visible in the parenchyma


Treatment is with corticosteroids and possibly intravenous immunoglobulins


Endogenous lipoid pneumonia and non-specific interstitial pneumonitis has been seen prior to the development of pulmonary alveolar proteinosis in a child6


  1. ^ Pelz L, Hobusch D, Erfurth F, Richter K 1972 "Familial cholesterol pneumonia" Helv Paediatr Acta 27 4: 371–9 PMID 4644274 
  2. ^ a b Kizer KW, Golden JA November 1987 "Lipoid pneumonitis in a commercial abalone diver" Undersea Biomedical Research 14 6: 545–52 PMID 3686744 Retrieved 2013-04-02 
  3. ^ a b Moe Bell, Marvin 2015 "Lipoid pneumonia: An unusual and preventable illness in elderly patients" Canadian Family Physician 61 9: 775–777 PMC 4569110  PMID 26371101 
  4. ^ "Pulmonary Pathology" Retrieved 21 November 2008 
  5. ^ Kim JY, Jung JW, Choi JC, Shin JW, Park IW, Choi BW February 2014 "Recurrent lipoid pneumonia associated with oil pulling" The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 18 2: 251–2 PMID 24429325 doi:105588/ijtld130852 
  6. ^ a b Antoon JW, Hernandez ML, Roehrs PA, Noah TL, Leigh MW, Byerley JS 2014 "Endogenous lipoid pneumonia preceding diagnosis of pulmonary alveolar proteinosis" Clin Respir J PMID 25103284 doi:101111/crj12197 

Further readingedit

  • Spickard, Anderson; Hirschmann, JV Mar 28, 1994 "Exogenous Lipoid Pneumonia" Archives of Internal Medicine 154 6: 686–92 PMID 8129503 doi:101001/archinte199400420060122013 
  • Betancourt, SL; Martinez-Jimenez, S; Rossi, SE; Truong, MT; Carrillo, J; Erasmus, JJ January 2010 "Lipoid pneumonia: spectrum of clinical and radiologic manifestations" AJR American journal of roentgenology 194 1: 103–9 PMID 20028911 doi:102214/ajr093040 

External linksedit

  • Gross pathology specimen from the University of Utah

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