Positron emission tomography aids diagnosis of relapsing polychondritis

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3 Citations (Scopus)


A 39-year-old man presented to the hospital in April 2011 with a 2-month history of tonsillitis, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, shortness of breath on exertion and a dry cough. He was a non-smoker, previously fit and well with no regular medication. Examination of the respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems was normal; he appeared generally well. C reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate were raised. A CT of the thorax showed mediastinal thickening and mediastinal lymphadenopathy. Whole body (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography showed diffuse tracheobronchial activity. Tracheal and lymph node biopsies showed non-specific features. Lung function tests showed an obstructive picture. A diagnosis of relapsing polychondritis was made. Immunosuppressive treatment was started, initially with oral methotrexate and prednisolone, later progressing to intravenous methylprednisolone and intravenous cyclophosphamide. Repeat bronchoscopy showed improvement in inflammation; however, the patient's symptoms were not improved. The patient's symptoms and lung function currently remain stable on maintenance oral prednisolone.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ case reports
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2014


  • Adult
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polychondritis, Relapsing
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


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