Approach to the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease

Clin Chest Med. 2012 Mar;33(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2011.12.002.


Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) encompass a wide range of diffuse pulmonary disorders, characterized by a variable degree of inflammatory and fibrotic changes of the alveolar wall and eventually the distal bronchiolar airspaces. ILDs may occur in isolation or in association with systemic diseases. The clinical evaluation of a patient with ILD includes a thorough medical history and detailed physical examination; obligatory diagnostic testing includes laboratory testing, chest radiography, and high-resolution computed tomography and comprehensive pulmonary function testing and blood gas analysis. To optimize the diagnostic yield, a dynamic interaction between the pulmonologist, radiologist, and pathologist is mandatory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / blood
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / classification
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / physiopathology
  • Medical History Taking
  • Physical Examination
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed