Interstitial Lung Diseases

What is an Interstitial Lung Disease?

In simplest terms, interstitial lung diseases are those type of lung diseases where the interstitium i.e. the thin connective tissue between the surface of the alveoli and the blood vessels is affected. This leads to decrease in child’s lungs to supply oxygen to their body and remove carbon dioxide.

What are the different types of child

  • Interstitial Lung Disease is not a single disease rather a group of rare lung diseases found in all age groups from neonates to infants, children, and adolescents. They can vary in type and severity as per the age of the child.
  • Common type seen in infants are surfactant protein mutations, pulmonary hemosiderosis, Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy, etc.
  • Common type seen in older children are hypersensitivity pneumonitis, Non Specific interstitial pneumonitis, Desquamative interstitial pneumonitis etc.

What are the symptoms of Interstitial Lung Disease in children?

Persistent cough, breathing fast, difficulty in breathing, reduced exercise capacity, recurrent pneumonia, abnormal chest xray and CT scan of Chest, reduced oxygenation in blood. These symptoms and signs in combination would suggest Interstitial Lung Disease in children.

What are the tests required to confirm the diagnosis of Interstitial Lung Disease?

  • Chest Xrays, CT Scan of chest, blood gases, pulmonary function tests and flexible bronchoscopy are the initial tests required.
  • Depending on these results many children would also need a Lung Biopsy. Lung biopsy can be taken with the help of a bronchoscope called Transbronchial Lung Biopsy.
  • Recently many genetic tests are available for diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases in children. Clinical exome sequencing is used for genetic testing.