Playing wind instruments may increase the risk of lung disease
Do you like playing wind instruments like trumpets, trombones, saxophones or bagpipes? Be careful, you are at increased risk of developing a fatal inflammatory lung disease dubbed “bagpipe lung,” a study warns.
The warning comes after a 61-year-old Briton died of a chronic inflammatory lung disease called hypersensitivity pneumonitis which is believed to have been caused by the regular inhalation of mold and fungus hidden inside the damp interior of a bagpipe.
The man had a dry cough and progressive shortness of breath for seven years, despite treatment with immunosuppressive drugs.
Doctors have identified several potential precipitating antigens isolated from his bagpipe.
He died from extensive lung damage consistent with acute respiratory distress syndrome and tissue fibrosis (scarring), according to the study.
“This is the first case that has identified fungal exposure of a bagpiper as a potential trigger for the development of (hypersensitivity pneumonitis),” said Jenny King of South Manchester University Hospital (UHSM) in Manchester, Great Britain.
The results showed that the interior of wind instruments becomes damp and thus can promote the growth of fungi or mold that can lead to hypersensitivity pneumonia, triggered by the immune system’s response to an inhaled environmental antigen.
The disease can eventually progress to crippling or fatal lung disease, the authors noted, adding that any type of wind instrument could be contaminated with yeast and mold, making players susceptible to the risk of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Cleaning instruments immediately after use and letting them drain could theoretically reduce the risk of microbial growth, the researchers suggested in the article published in the journal Thorax.
GET THE BEST BOLDSKY STORIES!
Article first published: Sunday August 28, 2016, 8:00 p.m. [IST]