LAM is generally progressive, leading to increasingly impaired lung function. The rate of development can vary considerably among patients.
As the disease advances, there is more extensive growth of muscle cells throughout the lung and repeated leakage of fluid into the chest cavity (pleural effusions). As an increasing number of cysts are formed, the lung takes on a honeycomb appearance.
The survival time following the diagnosis of LAM is uncertain, as the disease seems to be highly individual. It had been reported to be less than 10 years, but new reports show patients living more than 20 years after diagnosis.
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