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The symptoms I’ve been experiencing lately are very similar to the symptoms of ordinary flu or cold - runny nose, cough, fever, tiredness... Yet, none of the usual treatments seems to be working. My doctor suspects that it might be Wegener’s syndrome and suggests lung biopsy. I’d like to learn something about Wegener’s syndrome.

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The disorder you are mentioning is called Wegener’s syndrome, Wegener's granulomatosis, Wegener-Klinger syndrome or malignant granulomatous angiitis. WG is considered to be autoimmune disease - this means that your own body attacks itself and hurts various organs, but it is not confirmed - basically, the cause is not known. WG causes the inflammation of the walls of the blood vessels and creates lesions on those walls. This disrupts the normal blood flow and can end up with severe damaging of the organ supplied by that particular vessel (or group of vessels). Your doctor suspects WG because the usual organ affected is the lungs (actually, the whole respiratory tract including ears, nose, throat, trachea...) and this initiates problems you have experienced. Other parts of the body can be endangered, too, for example kidneys. In your case lung biopsy (open or thoracoscopic) is necessary in order to determine the presence of WG (these symptoms resemble the symptoms of many other disorders). Small amount of your lung tissue will be taken and laboratory tests will show the presence or absence of this disorder. Treatment mostly consists of combination of cyclophosphamide and prednisone and the latest reports show that 75% of the patients achieve significant improvement, especially if the disease is discovered in its early stadium.
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