What Is Lady Windermere Syndrome?

Lady Windermere syndrome is not a term that you will hear often but this condition affects more people than you would think. It is most commonly seen in elderly white women.

This syndrome typically appears after a patient suppresses cough for years. People do not want to cough for a number of reasons and patients often suppress their cough without even realizing it. Over the years, this habit can lead to serious health problems.

Lady Windermere syndrome is characterized by inflammation. Suppressing cough means that secretions cannot be cleared from the lingula and from the right middle lobe in the lungs. The symptoms are similar to the health issues experienced by patients who have a history of smoking, but Lady Windermere syndrome appears in patients who do not smoke.

Inflammation occurs in the lingula and in the right middle lobe, which makes the patient more likely to develop a mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection. Bronchiectasis can also appear. Other effects include damages and scarring of the lingular and middle lobe and it is possible for these areas to lose volume due to the infections.

The name Lady Windermere comes from a character in the play Lady Windermere’s Fan written by Oscar Wilde. This condition is not easy to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to a lot of other health conditions that affect the lungs. The symptoms vary from one patient to another and also depend on how long the patient has been suffering from the syndrome.

Medical professionals usually do not treat the syndrome itself but focus on treating the symptoms that result from the cough suppression. Patients are typically treated for infections and the syndrome is often not diagnosed until the patient has been treated for multiple infections without medical professionals being able to find a cause for the infections other than cough suppression.