2017 Volume 56 Issue 17 Pages 2329-2334
Early-onset pulmonary emphysema is uncommon and its pathogenesis is poorly defined. A 30-year-old man was admitted to our intensive care unit with severe respiratory failure. Besides smoking heavily since the 14 years of age, he had habitually inhaled organic solvents, such as toluene, in his adolescence. High-resolution computed tomography showed evident pulmonary emphysema throughout the lung fields. Based on the findings of right heart catheterization, he was diagnosed with an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complicated with pulmonary hypertension. Heavy smoking from a young age and exposure to toluene were the suspected causes of the patient's severe pulmonary emphysema.