Indexed on: 24 Aug '13Published on: 24 Aug '13Published in: Acta clinica Belgica
A 52-year-old man, a current smoker (40 pack years) with unremarkable medical history, was referred to the outpatient pneumology clinic because of recent complaints of shortness of breath and wheezing, which were relieved by inhaled bronchodilators. Serial peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurements showed a clear rise in PEF during the weekend and a fall on the evening after the first day of the week. It also showed that evening values were always lower than morning values. During a holiday, a slow but persistent rise in PEF was observed. Such a pattern is highly suggestive for occupational asthma. A detailed description of his job revealed papain exposure. After a positive specific IgE and skin prick test for papain the diagnosis of papain induced asthma was made. When an allergy and serious lung function impairment is proven against products encountered in a work related situation, not improving after maximal preventive measures, the patient is advised to change job.