Radiological versus histopathological diagnosis of usual interstitial pneumonia in the clinical practice: does it have any survival difference?

Respiration. 2010;79(1):32-7. doi: 10.1159/000225987. Epub 2009 Jun 19.


Background: Recent studies have shown that quantification of specific histopathologic features found in usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) are useful in defining a prognosis, suggesting the need of biopsy in all patients.

Objectives: This study examines whether UIP-associated mortality is different in patients diagnosed by high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) features considered definite of UIP and in patients with no definite radiological diagnosis that required histological confirmation of diagnoses.

Methods: Forty-five patients were included (30 males, mean age 65.3 +/- 10.7 years). Two groups of patients were identified: those with HRCT findings of definite UIP (n = 26) and those whose radiological diagnosis was not definite and required a surgical biopsy to confirm the presence of UIP (n = 19). Forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s and diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide were measured in all patients. All data were obtained from medical records, and the survival status was obtained by telephone or personal interview. All clinical parameters and HRCTs were obtained within 1 month before surgical lung biopsy.

Results: Median survival was not different across groups and was similar to that previously reported (35 months). Kaplan-Meier analysis did not show any difference in 5-year survival between both groups.

Conclusions: In a clinical context in which the diagnosis of UIP can be obtained as a dynamic process that includes an integrated clinical, radiological and pathologic approach, a reliable diagnosis of UIP can be obtained based on a typical definite HRCT with no risk of including patients with a more benign disease and a more prolonged survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / mortality
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed