Surgical management of pulmonary infections in chronic granulomatous disease of childhood

Helen W. Pogrebniak, John I. Gallin, Harry L. Malech, Alan R. Baker, Christopher A. Moskaluk, William D. Travis, Harvey I. Pass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Chronic granulomatous disease of childhood is an inheritable disorder of phagocytic cell respiratory burst resulting in recurrent, life-threatening, catalase-positive infection. The lung is the most cummon site of infection, and pulmonary disease is the primary cause of death in greater than 50% of children with chronic granulomatous disease. Still, the role of surgery in management of this disease remains undefined. Between 1974 and 1990, 19 patients with chronic granulomatous disease required 31 thoracic interventions at our institution. Patients ranged in age from 2.5 to 27 years (mean age, 15 years). Seventeen of 19 patients (89%) had had previous pulmonary infections. Patients presented as toxic (temperature > 38.5 °C, chest pain, and cough) in 22 instances before the 31 procedures. Aggressive surgical intervention for diagnosis and extirpation of localized infections was undertaken with lobectomy/pneumonectomy with or without other procedures (5), bisegmentectomy (2), segmentectomy with or without other procedures (5), or wedge with or without other procedures (13). In five instances, an empyema was drained; a chest tube for a sterile collection was placed in one instance. There was one intraoperative death, and 3 patients died 22 to 600 days postoperatively with overwhelming sepsis. The mean hospitalization was 101 days (range, 24 to 600 days). Wound complications occurred in 5 patients, requiring 17 separate anesthetic debridements. A change in therapy was dictated by the results of the procedure in 23 of 31 instances (74%). Thoracic surgeons must be aware of this rare cause of immunosuppression in these children and, due to the unusual nature of the pulmonary infections, should follow an aggressive approach in their diagnosis and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-849
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes


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