Crohn's disease is a chronic, idiopathic autoimmune disorder that primarily targets the gastrointestinal (GI) system. It is characterized by transmural inflammation of the GI tract that can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Not infrequently, the disease may also have extraintestinal manifestations (EIMs) that can affect almost any organ system. It is estimated that EIMs affect up to 36% of patients with Crohn's disease, but the incidence and prevalence of pulmonary involvement are variable in the literature and may be as low as 0.4%. There are few case reports documenting pulmonary manifestations, as they are often overlooked, especially if respiratory symptoms are present before the diagnosis of GI manifestations, as in the present case. A 44-year-old otherwise healthy woman presented with nonspecific respiratory complaints, recurrent pneumonias, and multiple computed tomography images showing diffuse, migratory, nodular, and consolidative parenchymal lung disease, with a largely unremarkable infectious and rheumatologic evaluation. Lung biopsy revealed necrotizing and nonnecrotizing granulomas, raising concern for sarcoidosis. Subsequent imaging revealed an incidental mass in the cecum. Biopsy of the cecum lesion revealed acute cryptitis, crypt abscess, and a single poorly formed granuloma, suggesting the possibility of Crohn's disease. In this report, we present a patient whose pulmonary manifestations ultimately led to the diagnosis of Crohn's disease.
- Crohn's disease
- Extraintestinal manifestations
- Pulmonary nodules
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