Playing Wind Instruments Can Lead To ‘Bagpipe Lung’ Disease: Study

Cleaning instruments immediately after use and allowing them to drip dry could theoretically curb the risk of microbe growth.

London: Love to play wind instruments like trumpets, trombones, saxophones or bagpipes? Be careful as you may be at a heightened risk of developing a deadly inflammatory lung disease dubbed as ‘bagpipe lung’, warns a study.

The warning comes after a 61-year-old British man died of chronic inflammatory lung condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

It is thought to have been caused by regularly breathing in mould and fungi lurking inside the moist interior of a set of bagpipes.

The man had a dry cough and progressive breathlessness for seven years, despite treatment with immuno-suppressant drugs.

The doctors identified multiple potential precipitating antigens isolated from his bagpipes.

He died due to extensive lung damage consistent with acute respiratory distress syndrome and tissue fibrosis, the study said.

“This is the first case that identified fungal exposure, from a bagpipe player, as a potential trigger for the development of hypersensitivity pneumonitis,” said Jenny King from University Hospital of South Manchester in Manchester, Britain.

The findings showed that interiors of wind instruments turn moist and may thus foster growth of fungi or moulds that can lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

This condition gets triggered by the immune system’s response to an inhaled environmental antigen.

The authors noted that any type of wind instrument could be contaminated with yeasts and moulds, making players susceptible to the risk of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Cleaning instruments immediately after use and allowing them to drip dry could theoretically curb the risk of microbe growth, the researchers suggested, in the paper published in the journal Thorax.

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