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This information was reviewed and approved by Gregory P. Downey, MD, FRCPC (2/2/2023).

How is LAM diagnosed?

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)  is a rare disease that can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to other lung disease such as asthma and bronchitis. Because of the common symptoms, many women may not realize they have LAM or that they need to see a doctor.

See a pulmonologist who has experience with LAM and diseases like LAM, to diagnose and treat the condition. The doctor will examine you, ask about your symptoms, and may order diagnostic tests such as:

  • High-Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT) Scan – the most accurate and noninvasive way to identify LAM present in the lung, look for fluid around the lungs and find LAM-related kidney tumors which are present in about 40% of people with LAM
  • Bronchoscopy – a scope is inserted in the nose and down through your trachea to look inside  your lungs and airways, and to take a tissue sample for a biopsy if needed
  • Lung Function Testing – shows how much air you can inhale and exhale within a time frame, and if your lungs are functioning normally, or if there is an abnormality
  • Chest X-Ray – shows a collapsed lung or fluid in the lung cavity
  • Pulse Oximetry – identifies how much oxygen is in your blood
  • VEGF-D Blood Test – measures the VEGF-D hormone level  
  • Lung Biopsy – a thoracoscopy or thoracotomy collects tissue from the lung to help diagnose LAM or diseases that look like LAM

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