Diagnostic criteria for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a Fleischner Society White Paper

Lancet Respir Med. 2018 Feb;6(2):138-153. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(17)30433-2. Epub 2017 Nov 15.


This Review provides an updated approach to the diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), based on a systematic search of the medical literature and the expert opinion of members of the Fleischner Society. A checklist is provided for the clinical evaluation of patients with suspected usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP). The role of CT is expanded to permit diagnosis of IPF without surgical lung biopsy in select cases when CT shows a probable UIP pattern. Additional investigations, including surgical lung biopsy, should be considered in patients with either clinical or CT findings that are indeterminate for IPF. A multidisciplinary approach is particularly important when deciding to perform additional diagnostic assessments, integrating biopsy results with clinical and CT features, and establishing a working diagnosis of IPF if lung tissue is not available. A working diagnosis of IPF should be reviewed at regular intervals since the diagnosis might change. Criteria are presented to establish confident and working diagnoses of IPF.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Societies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*