ABSTRACT Objective: Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) may be a complex syndrome rather than a single, uniform disease entity. The problems associated with HP treatment include a lack of awareness of primary care procedures and scarcity of recent information regarding HP. The main objective of this study was to investigate the problems in the interaction between primary care physicians and chest specialists. Data source: All available clinical records of cases at the Fukujuji Chest Hospital, Tokyo, between 1994 and 2005, supervised by specialists of a university hospital. Study selection: All cases suspected of HP during the period. Results: Nine cases were excluded because of insufficient records or because they did not satisfy the clinical criteria. Twenty-eight enrolled patients (14 men and 14 women; mean age, 53.0 years) were initially treated for respiratory infections by primary care physicians. The final HP types were summer-type (n = 18), bird fancier’s lung (n = 2), ventilation-related (n = 3), or undetectable antigen (n = 5). On the basis of the interval between the onset of initial symptoms and the time of referral to our hospital, the cases can be categorized into 3 groups, which may represent acute, subacute, and chronic HP. Conclusion: All patients initially received treatment on the basis of a different diagnosis at primary evaluation. We concluded that interaction between primary care physicians and chest specialists is essential for solving problems associated with the early diagnosis and adequate treatment of HP.
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