Sauropus androgymus (SA), a vegetable of the Euphorbiaceae family, is a common food source in Malaysia. In Taiwan, over 30 patients have developed progressive respiratory failure after consuming the extract from raw SA leaves as a means of losing weight. Symptoms consistent with a severe obstructive ventilatory defect progressed, despite cessation of SA intake and treatment with bronchodilators, corticosteroids, cytotoxic agents and plasmaphresis. Five patients with end-stage Sauropus androgynus-induced bronchiolitis obliterans (SABO) syndrome underwent lung transplantation. There was no early mortality. One patient died of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder and another patient died of bronchial stenosis with infection, 5 and 3.5 months, respectively, post-transplantation. The remaining 3 patients have been followed from 29 to 34 months, with improved general condition and pulmonary function. Perfusion/ventilation scans revealed that these improvements were exclusively attributed to the functional grafts. We believe that lung transplantation is the only effective modality of treatment for patients with end-stage SABO syndrome.
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