Toxic Mold Contributes to Infection and Pulmonary Hypertension

    Pulmonology Expert WitnessThis case involves a woman who was exposed to toxic mold in her home over an extended period of time. The mold, which was growing on the wall of the woman’s bedroom behind a large chest of drawers, was caused by an undiscovered leak in the home’s plumbing. Before the mold was discovered, the woman developed an infection in her lungs that left her with severe respiratory damage. As a result of the infection, the woman required supplemental oxygen at all times, and now sufferers from pulmonary hypertension. Due to her illness, she was unable to return to work.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Do you routinely care for individuals who are exposed to mold?
    • 2. What are the most common pulmonary side effects of mold?

    Expert Witness Response E-070668

    A lot of my patients have been exposed to mold, but it is often difficult to assign mold as the specific etiology of their problems; all other possible causal agents would need to be ruled out first. While exposure to mold can cause lung disease, I don’t believe that I have ever seen it as the primary etiology of a patient’s pulmonary hypertension. There are a lot of possible causes of pulmonary hypertension but mold is not one that is commonly seen. I often work-up pulmonary hypertension, but another of my partners manages most of the patients on treatment. In my experience, we would have to relate the mold exposure to a chronic lung disease, which then causes the pulmonary hypertension. While chronic lung disease is a very common cause of pulmonary hypertension, relating it all back to a mold exposure is far less common. Exposure to mold can cause a fungal infection in the lungs and can also cause/worsen asthma with an IGE mediated response. Most often it would just worsen a pre-existing condition such as asthma.

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