Interstitial Lung Disease

This term refers to a diverse number of scarring lung disease processes, the most common of which is usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP). This disease most commonly affects people in their 50s-70s, and there is currently no known effective treatment except appropriately timed lung transplantation. Due to progressive scarring of the lung hypoxia, pulmonary hypertension and respiratory failure are the natural course of disease progression. Lung transplant is the only treatment modality that has been shown to prolong life with this disease process. An exhaustive early evaluation and treatment of co-morbid conditions (coronary artery disease, obesity, sleep apnea, deconditioning, reflux, etc) is essential for timely transplant listing.

Indications for transplant consideration are total lung capacity of less than 70%, hypoxia at rest or with exertion regardless of the total lung capacity, and/or co-existent pulmonary hypertension. Patients whose physical stature is outside population averages should be referred early for optimal transplant opportunities.

A brief presentation of the disease process, and prognostic indicators associated with this progressive fibrotic lung disease is available in the “Education Corner” of this website.


More about idopathic pulmonary fibrosis