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Rivista di Medicina Interna
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Panminerva Medica 1999 March;41(1):62-7
Munchausen’s syndrome. A case of factitious hemoptysis
Saed G., Potalivo S., Panzini L., Bisetti A.
From the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences Department “Carlo Forlanini” Hospital “La Sapienza” State University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Factitious hemoptysis is the bleeding type of Munchausen’s syndrome, rarely reported in the literature (only seventeen cases). After a careful and detailed literature review, the authors report the case of a 22-year-old working-woman, with a history of asthma, Mediterranean anaemia and recurrent hemoptysis, who was admitted several times to the cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences Department in the Carlo Forlanini Hospital in 1994 for an asthmatic attack and wheeziness at rest. During the admissions the patient underwent laboratory tests (such as the examination of sputum specimens, urinalysis, tuberculin test, cold agglutinins and pneumotropic virus tests) and diagnostic studies (fiberoptic bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage, computerized tomography and radiography of the chest, bronchial arteriography, bronchography, perfusion and ventilation lung scan), because she continually presented with hemoptysis, in order to spot and discover the nature of the bleeding. Since such examinations failed (a few of them-namely fiberoptic bronchoscopies - were even performed when she was coughing up blood) and psychiatric consultations revealed the presence of psychologically traumatic events in the patient’s history which could explain the psychopathic traits of her personality (in fact she was aggressive and unstable in interpersonal relations), a diagnosis of factitious hemoptysis in Munchausen’s syndrome was made.