Interstitial Lung Diseases

Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) are a varied group of disorders characterized by impairment in lung function and gas exchange due to the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins in the parenchyma of the lungs.  Known causes of ILD include connective tissue or systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, genetic abnormalities, pneumotoxic medications or treatments, infections, occupational exposure to materials such as asbestos, and smoking    but in many cases, the cause of ILD is unknown. 

Distinguishing between ILD types can be challenging, but differentiation is important for appropriate disease management and prognosis, particularly because treatment is based on the probable etiology of the disease.    Diagnosis depends on clinical examination, a thorough patient history, laboratory testing, imaging, and in some cases, bronchoalveolar lavage analysis and/or tissue biopsy.   Laboratory tests in the workup of ILD include nonspecific tests such as calcium, creatinine, liver function, and muscle enzyme tests, as well as autoantibody testing.  A full serologic workup to detect autoimmune antibodies associated with connective tissue diseases is recommended. 

Tabs Content
Content Review: 
November 2019

Last Update: December 2019