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Disease Profile

Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset

All ages





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable



Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Lung Diseases


Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis is a disorder in which tiny fragments (microliths) of calcium phosphate gradually accumulate in the small air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. These deposits eventually cause widespread damage to the alveoli and surrounding lung tissue (interstitial lung disease). People with this disorder may also develop a persistent cough and difficulty breathing (dyspnea), especially during physical exertion. Chest pain that worsens when coughing, sneezing, or taking deep breaths is another common feature. People with pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis may also develop calcium phosphate deposits in other organs and tissue of the body.[1] Though the course of the disease can be variable, many cases slowly progress to lung fibrosis, respiratory failure, or cor pulmonale.[2][3] The only effective therapy is lung transplantation.[2][3] In some cases, pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis is caused by mutations in the SLC34A2 gene and inherited in an autosomal recessive manner.[1][2]


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Autosomal recessive inheritance
Intraalveolar nodular calcifications
Age symptoms begin
Progressive pulmonary function impairment
Restrictive ventilatory defect
Stiff lung or chest wall causing decreased lung volume
Slow progression
Signs and symptoms worsen slowly with time

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

Where to Start

  • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.

In-Depth Information

  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


  1. Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis. Genetics Home Reference. December 2014; https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/pulmonary-alveolar-microlithiasis#glossary. Accessed 6/19/2015.
  2. Francisco, Flavia Angelica Ferreira, et al.. Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis. State-of-the-art review.. Respir Med. Jan 2013; 107(1)::1-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23183116. Accessed 6/19/2015.
  3. Al-Sardar, Hussain et al.. Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis: report of two brothers with the same illness and review of literature. BMJ Case Rep.. Mar 31, 2014; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24686795. Accessed 6/19/2015.