Lung disease in rheumatoid arthritis

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2015 May;41(2):225-36. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2014.12.004. Epub 2015 Feb 3.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects approximately 1% of the US population frequently has extra-articular manifestations. Most compartments of the lung are susceptible to disease. Interstitial lung disease (ILD) and airways disease are the most common forms of RA-related lung disease. RA-ILD carries the worst prognosis and most often manifests in a histologic pattern of usual interstitial pneumonia or nonspecific interstitial pneumonia. There have been no large, well-controlled prospective studies investigating therapies for RA-ILD. Treatment usually entails immunomodulatory agents. Further studies are needed to better understand pathogenic mechanisms of disease that lead to lung involvement in these patients.

Keywords: Bronchiolitis; Drug-induced lung disease; Extra-articular disease; Interstitial lung disease; Interstitial pneumonia; Pleural effusion; Pulmonary; Rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases / therapy