Should I consult a pulmonary specialist
Aug 24, 2001
Hello, I was diagnosed with AIDS in late 1996. I had pneumonia, chicken pox and thrush. I reacted well to treatments and have had a non-detectable viral load since 1997 and my t-cells continue to climb higher. In the spring of 1998 I was having breathing difficulties. After several x-rays and tests it was discovered that the lymph nodes near my lungs were about 1 1/2 larger than they should be. I saw a pulmonologist and after a bronchioscope he determined that I had contracted Macro Avium Complex. He did a biopsy which tested positive for the disease. I was on treatment for about a year and after another bronchioscope I was pronouced clear of MAC. Since that time I have continued to have a dry hacking cough. I thought it was due to allergies, but treatment for allergies do not affect my cough a great deal. Is this something I should consult a pulmonogist about? Any other suggestions would be helpful.
Response from Dr. Pavia
Chronic cough is a complicated symptom, even if you don't have HIV. Reasons can range from allergies and post nasal drip to asthma, drug reactions, environmental irritants, infections, all the way to tumors and a whole host of other things. You should talk it over with your HIV doctor or primary care doctor, but pulmonary docs are experienced in evaluating chronic cough, if it is frustrating the non specialist. It may be a very reasonable choice for you if simple things have been tried.
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