To describe a new entity characterized by airway-centered fibroelastosis.
We identified cases with prominent airway-centered elastosis in lung samples, and little or no pleural involvement identified through a pathologic database at a single institution over an 8-year period.
Airway-centered fibroelastosis was characterized by (1) extensive airway-centered fibroelastosis of the upper lobes on histopathology and (2) marked bronchial abnormalities with bronchial wall thickening, bronchial wall deformation, and bronchiectasis, along with progressive parenchymal retraction and predominantly subpleural upper-lobe consolidations on high-resolution CT. Pateints were five nonsmoking women aged between 38 and 56 years old. They experienced chronic dyspnea with acute attacks of wheezing and dyspnea. Moderate to severe physiological abnormalities were observed, with an obstructive pattern in three cases and a restriction in two. Despite inhaled and oral corticosteroids, the disease was progressive in all patients and evolved to chronic respiratory failure, requiring lung transplantation in two patients. Four patients had chronic asthma.
We consider airway-centered fibroelastosis to be a unique and distinct pathological entity in women that needs to be individualized, with a specific clinical, imaging, and pathological presentation. We hypothesize that airway-centered fibroelastosis may be idiopathic or asthma-associated.