Interstitial lung disease

Diffuse interstitial lung disease encompasses a large number of disorders that are characterised by cellular infiltrates in a periacinar location. While some disease processes may cause significant injury to the underlying lung parenchyma (e.g. usual interstitial pneumonia), some do not (e.g. pulmonary eosinophilia).

Interstitial lung disease generally produce the "3Cs": cough, clubbing of the nails and coarse crackles on auscultation 6.

The radiological appearances are not specific for the underlying cause of diffuse lung disease in many cases. It is therefore key to determine whether there is an underlying cause for the changes. A number of precipitants can cause diffuse interstitial disease such as:

Eliciting a history of underlying systemic disease is also helpful since they may involve the lungs in a diffuse and infiltrative manner. Examples include:

Where a cause is not determined, the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (IIP) should be considered:

Mnemonic: All Idiopathic Chronic Lung Diseases aRe Nonspecific

The diffuse lung diseases tend to cause infiltrative opacification in the periphery of the lung. As the name of the group of diseases suggests, they are diffuse. While the consolidation or ground-glass change is usually bilateral, it may be localised, e.g. radiation pneumonitis.

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Article information

rID: 14479
System: Chest
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Diffuse interstitial lung diseases
  • Diffuse lung disease
  • ILD
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Diffuse interstitial lung disease

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Cases and figures

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    Usual interstitia...
    Case 1: usual interstitial pneumonitis
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    Case 2: asbestosis
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    Case 3: sarcoidosis
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    Case 4: NSIP (with SLE)
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    Case 5: UIP
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    Case 6: Dermatomyositis related
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