INTRODUCTION: Respiratory impairment may be the main clinical manifestation of human leptospirosis. METHODS: With the aim of describing the respiratory functional characteristics of this disease, 21 patients were evaluated using pulse oximetry and spirometry at two times: an initial evaluation and after around 28 days. RESULTS: Two (9.5%) patients presented peripheral oxygen saturation of less than 95%. Normal spirometric patterns were observed in eight (38.1%); cases restrictive ventilatory disorders were inferred in seven (33.3%), obstructive disorders with reduced forced vital capacity in four (19%), and nonspecific disorders in two (9.5%). Abnormal spirometry findings were associated with worse APACHE II scores (p = 0.02) and abnormalities on chest x-ray (p = 0.05). After clinical resolution, significant functional gain was observed (p < 0.05) in the group of patients with abnormal spirometry findings. CONCLUSIONS: It was concluded that respiratory functional abnormalities were detected during the course of the disease and were associated with greater clinical severity and higher frequency of chest radiographic abnormalities.
leptospirosis; Pulmonary leptospirosis; Spirometry