Author(s): Wells AU
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Abstract Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the most prevalent idiopathic interstitial pneumonia, is associated with a poor prognosis. An accurate diagnosis of IPF is essential for optimal management. The recent ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT recommendations on the diagnosis and management of IPF were developed from a systematic review of the published literature. High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scanning has a central role in the IPF diagnostic pathway with formal designation of criteria for an HRCT pattern of UIP. In the correct clinical context, a UIP pattern on HRCT is indicative of a definite diagnosis of IPF without the need for a surgical lung biopsy. However, although the 2011 ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT statement is a major advance, the application of guideline recommendations by clinicians has identified limitations that need to be addressed in future statements. Key problems include: 1) the lack of management recommendations for the highly prevalent clinical scenarios of probable and possible IPF; 2) the ongoing confusion about the diagnostic role of bronchoalveolar lavage (reflecting ambiguity in the current recommendation); 3) HRCT misdiagnosis by less experienced radiologists, increasingly recognised as a major problem; and 4) the lack of integration of clinical data, including the treated course of disease, in the designation of the diagnostic likelihood of IPF.
This article was published in Respir Res
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research