If you’re considering investing in feather-filled bedding, watch out for ‘feather duvet lung’…

Doctors are warning people to watch out for ‘feather duvet lung’ after treating a middle-aged man with severe lung inflammation that developed soon after he bought feather-filled bedding.

He could do little more than sleep all day

The 43-year-old was referred to respiratory specialists after three months of malaise, fatigue and increasing breathlessness which affected the simplest of activities, such as going from room to room and walking up the stairs at home.

His symptoms worsened to the point where he could only stand or walk for a few minutes without feeling as if he were about to pass out. He was signed off work and managed to do little more than sleep all day.

He was quizzed about possible triggers for his symptoms: there was a small amount of mould in the bathroom, and he owned a cat and a dog, but no birds, so the doctors concluded that these factors were unlikely to be responsible.

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His symptoms worsened to the point where he could only stand or walk for a few minutes without feeling as if he were about to pass out.


What happened when he bought feather-filled bedding

However, he had recently swapped a synthetic duvet and pillows for feather-filled bedding.

Blood tests revealed antibodies to bird feather dust.

His chest X-ray was consistent with hypersensitivity pneumonitis – a condition in which the air sacs and airways in the lungs become severely inflamed as a result of the body’s exaggerated immune response to a particular trigger.

The man was diagnosed with a variant of hypersensitivity pneumonitis – feather duvet lung – which is caused by breathing in organic dust from the duck or goose feathers found in duvets and pillows.

He was given a course of steroids to quell the inflammation and told to revert to synthetic bedding. After 12 months his symptoms had cleared up and his life had returned to normal.

Ignored cases could lead to irreversible scarring in the lungs

It’s not known how common feather duvet lung is, because it is often missed as doctors rarely ask patients about featherbedding.

The study authors point out that repeated exposure to the culprit trigger in hypersensitivity pneumonitis can lead to irreversible scarring of the lung tissue. This means that it is important to identify the condition promptly.


Source: BMJ via www.sciencedaily.com