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BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr06.2009.1969.
Published online 2010 January 13. doi:  10.1136/bcr.06.2009.1969
PMCID: PMC3027857
Rare disease

A female soccer player with recurrent haemoptysis and iron deficiency anaemia: idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis (IPH)—case report and literature review


A 19-year-old woman presented with repeated episodes of haemoptysis and shortness of breath. Blood tests revealed iron deficiency anaemia and chest imaging studies showed bilateral lung opacities. In further laboratory tests and technical examination including bronchoalveolar lavage and transbronchial lung biopsy, pulmonary embolism, cardiac disease, and pulmonary vasculitis due to autoimmune disease were ruled out. Finally, a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis (IPH) was made in January 2008. The patient was treated with prednisone, azathioprine, and oral iron supplementation. Subsequently, the patient’s condition and haemoglobin value improved notably. In May 2009, the patient was in full disease remission including a normal blood count and normal iron parameters. IPH is a rare cause of diffuse alveolar haemorrhage of unknown origin. It occurs most frequently in children and adolescents and typically presents with recurrent haemoptysis due to alveolar bleeding. However, pulmonary signs and symptoms often are obscure in children. In these cases iron deficiency anaemia is the prominent clinical finding. The purpose of this case report is to increase awareness of IPH as a possible cause of recurrent haemoptysis and anaemia.

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