* This is the Consumer Version. *
Overview of Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias
Idiopathic interstitial pneumonias are interstitial lung diseases that have no known cause and that affect the lungs similarly.
The word idiopathic means of unknown cause, so when the cause of interstitial lung disease is not identified, idiopathic interstitial pneumonia is diagnosed. Pneumonias are often thought of as infections, but these diseases do not appear to result from infection.
There are seven types of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. In decreasing order of frequency, they are
All types cause cough and shortness of breath and affect the lungs similarly. The ends of the fingers may become thick or club-shaped (see Figure: ). Through a stethoscope, doctors often hear crackling sounds. Although symptoms may be similar, disorders differ in how quickly symptoms develop, how they are treated, and how serious they are.
Comparing Types Of Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias
Chest x-rays are done.Computed tomography (CT) of the chest is done. CT may allow doctors to make a diagnosis. If not, doctors remove a small sample of lung tissue for examination under a microscope (lung biopsy). Usually, biopsy is done surgically with use of a thoracoscope (see Thoracoscopy).
Blood tests are usually done. They usually cannot confirm the diagnosis but are done as part of the search for other, similar disorders. Doctors may also do electrocardiography (ECG) or echocardiography to determine whether the heart has been affected by the lung disease.
Generic NameSelect Brand Names
* This page is for Consumers *