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Chronic cough in a patient with stable ulcerative colitis: a rare but important extraintestinal manifestation of inflammatory bowel disease
  1. Thomas Chad1 and
  2. Jeremy Brown2
  1. 1 Intensive Care, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Respiratory Division of Medicine, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Chad, tom.chad{at}


A 74-year-old woman presented to her general practitioner with cough and occasional sputum production. Having failed to respond to courses of antibiotics in the community, she was referred to the thoracic medicine clinic. High-resolution CT chest revealed cylindrical bronchiectasis predominantly in the right lower lobe. Lung function revealed preserved FEV1 and FVC but reduced gas transfer values. Bronchiectasis secondary to ulcerative colitis was diagnosed. Inhaled corticosteroid therapy was initiated, with good clinical response noted at 6 monthly follow-up. Remission was sustained with tapering of the steroid dose. Recognition of respiratory complications in cases of inflammatory bowel disease is likely still poor among clinicians. Although rare, a working knowledge of principles of investigation and management will aid timely diagnosis and treatment, potentially preventing progression of respiratory disease.

  • respiratory medicine
  • gastroenterology
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • lung function

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  • Contributors TC planned and wrote the case report. This included gathering images and contacting the patient regarding the submission. JB oversaw the writing process by reviewing the case report regularly and providing ongoing editorial support to ensure accuracy of content. He was responsible for the identification of the patient, who remains under his clinical care.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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