Interstial lung disease

Chest | Pulmonology | Interstial lung disease (Disease)


It refers to a group of lung diseases affecting the interstitium (the tissue and space around the air sacs of the lungs). It concerns alveolar epithelium, pulmonary capillary endothelium, basement membrane, perivascular and perilymphatic tissues.

The term ILD is used to distinguish these diseases from obstructive airways diseases. Prolonged ILD may result in pulmonary fibrosis, but this is not always the case. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is one form of interstitial lung disease.

Causes and Risk factors

Interstitial lung disease is felt to be caused by a misdirected immune or healing reaction to a number of factors, including: infections of the lungs; toxins in the environment (such as asbestos, silica dust); certain medications (particularly some drugs used as chemotherapy for cancers); radiation therapy to the chest; and chronic autoimmune diseases: connective tissue diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis

Sometimes, the process of inflammation and scarring of the interstitial tissues of the lungs develops in the absence of a known cause. When no cause can be identified, this is referred to as idiopathic (unknown cause) interstitial lung disease or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A bronchoscopy or lung biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. An xray and CT scan may be done as well as a test to measure how well the lungs work (pulmonary function tests). A blood test to measure the amount of oxygen on the blood is usually done.

There is no cure for this disorder. Treatment is aimed at reducing the amount of scarring that takes place. Medications used include steroids and other chemo-therapy like drugs. Oxygen is used to help prevent the elevated blood pressure of the pulmonary artery and right sided heart failure. Severe case may require a lung transplant surgery. ...