Ritalin lung

Case contributed by Hillel S. Maresky


Shortness of breath after climbing stairs.

Patient Data

Age: 60 years
Gender: Female

Basal predominant emphysematous changes in a young woman, mid to upper lung zones essentially normal. No pneumothorax.

3D reconstruction


3D reconstruction of same patient after undergoing CT, showing "vanishing lung" in the bilateral lower lobes with essentially normal upper/middle lobes.

Case Discussion

This 60 year old woman presented with dyspnea on exertion. Frontal and lateral radiographs showed basal and left apical predominant emphysema with normal appearing mid and right upper lung zones.

CT confirmed that the lower lobes represented "vanishing lungs" (see 3D reconstruction). This patient was asked about drug use and confirmed both snorting and injection of methylphenidate/ Ritalin.

She is currently awaiting lung transplant at our institution.

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