Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2011
Diagnostic assessment of patients with interstitial lung disease
Department of Pulmonary & Critical Care, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Received 20 November 2009 • Accepted 20 September 2010 • Online 20 April 2011
The diagnosis of interstitial lung disease (ILD) is frequently delayed because clinical clues are neglected and respiratory symptoms are ascribed to more common pulmonary diagnoses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the primary care setting. While ILD cases ultimately require referral to a pulmonologist, general practitioners can play a crucial role in recognising the need for, and initiating, a diagnostic evaluation. An initial assessment hinges upon a structured history and physical examination with careful attention paid to occupational, environmental and drug exposures as well as a history of symptoms suggesting connective tissue disease. Ultimately a surgical lung biopsy may be indicated, but high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) chest scans are essential to the diagnostic workup since each ILD form is characterised by a specific pattern of abnormalities.
Cite as: Gulati M. Diagnostic assessment of patients with interstitial lung disease. Prim Care Respir J 2011;20(2):120-127. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4104/pcrj.2010.00079
Interstitial Lung disease (ILD), Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonia, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), Connective Tissue Disease, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Nonspecific Interstitial Pneumonia (NSIP), High Resolution CT (HRCT) Scan
* Corresponding author. Mridu Gulati Tel: +1 203 785 2509 Fax: +1 203 785 3826 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org