Rheumatology international

Recurrent pneumothorax associated with pulmonary nodules after leflunomide therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: a case report and review of the literature.

PMID 19862529


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a multisystem inflammatory disease characterized by destructive synovitis and systemic extraarticular involvement. One of the most common pulmonary manifestations of RA is rheumatoid nodule. Spontaneous pneumothorax also very rare pulmonary finding and could be associated with pulmonary nodules. Antirheumatic drugs, methotrexate, leflunomide (LEF), infliximab and etanercept, were known as risk factors for developing rheumatoid nodule. However, there was no case report of rheumatoid nodule-associated pneumothorax with the use of LEF. We report, first, herein a case of 46-year-old woman with RA who suffered recurrent spontaneous pneumothorax associated with multiple bilateral subpleural cavitary nodules during treatment with LEF. We reviewed the cases of LEF-related pulmonary nodules developed in patients with RA. Thus, we suggested that pneumothorax can be a rare respiratory fatal complication in patients with RA with pulmonary nodules and LEF can be a rare cause of these manifestations.