Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)

Our Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) Clinic is certified by the LAM Foundation. This distinction recognizes our program's dedication to the care, advancement of research and treatments for individuals with Alpha-1 deficiency. Our program is led by nationally recognized physicians for their expertise in).

What is lymphangioleiomyomatosis?

LAM is a progressive lung disease that usually strikes women during their childbearing years. It is caused by the release of abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells (LAM cells). The LAM cells invade lung tissues, including the airways, and blood and lymph vessels. Over time, the cells form bundles in the walls of the airways, as well as the blood and lymph vessels, causing them to become obstructed. These cells produce materials that break down tissue causing the formation of cysts.

LAM affects each woman differently. Some women have no symptoms and do not develop complications. In others, symptoms can present related to the lung, kidney and/or liver.

Symptoms related to LAM:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Coughing blood

Complications related to LAM:

  • Lung collapse
  • Accumulation of milky fluid in the chest or abdomen
  • Kidney tumors
  • Multidisciplinary approach to lymphangioleiomyomatosis

The UC San Diego Health Advanced Lung Disease Program offers patients with LAM both standard and cutting-edge investigational therapies. Standard treatment requires therapy with an immunosuppressive agent (sirolimus) along with close monitoring for complications related to LAM.

Our clinical experts are actively involved in expanding horizons in the area of research for LAM. Some patients may be suitable candidates for clinical trials offered at UC San Diego Health.

Because LAM can cause various organ involvement and is potentially progressive in nature, we use a multidisciplinary approach to this condition. Our team partners with physicians and surgeons who have expertise in their respective specialties as it relates to lymphangioleiomyomatosis, including interventional radiologists, nephrologists, urologists, thoracic surgeons and the lung transplant team.

In addition to medical care, patients will benefit from additional services provided to improve their health and empower them with the knowledge of LAM. These include:

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation to improve breathing techniques and functional status
  • Smoking cessation counseling
  • Nutritional education and services provided by registered dietitians

Appointments & Referrals

Pulmonary Medicine Locations

La Jolla

Related Specialists

Pulmonary Research & Clinical Trials

Our doctors are actively involved in clinical trials evaluating new therapies and tools for treating lung conditions. Learn more.