September 23, 2017 |
HRCT Scans Can Spare IPF Patients Risks of Lung Biopsy
February 17, 2014  | 

Seattle, WA - People who have suspected idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) without typical patterns on high resolution computed tomography (CT) scans could in future be spared the substantial risks of lung biopsy and be given a confident diagnosis of IPF based on clinical and radiological findings alone, according to new research published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

IPF causes progressive scarring of lung tissue, which eventually prevents the lungs from being able to supply the body with adequate oxygen. IPF has no cure and most people live only 3 to 5 years after diagnosis. Appropriate treatment is complicated by the fact that a definitive diagnosis often requires a lung biopsy.

HRCT scans of the lungs can identify typical ‘honeycombing pattern’ of lung scarring and damage to the air sacs known as usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) in people with IPF. In a patient with progressive breathlessness who has no significant environmental exposures attributable to pulmonary fibrosis, or evidence of collagen vascular diseases, the UIP pattern on HRCT is characteristic of IPF. When patients suspected to have IPF do not have the definitive UIP pattern on HRCT images, international guidelines recommend a surgical lung biopsy to make a confident diagnosis of IPF in such patients. 

“Surgical lung biopsy is associated with substantial risks and many patients are too elderly, sick, and/or have comorbid conditions to tolerate the invasive procedure”, explains Professor Ganesh Raghu from the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, who led the research.  Continue>

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