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Interstitial Lung Disease Program

Wanda Samuel, lung transplant recipient, holds a photo of her donor Wanda Samuel had IPF and needed a lung transplant. Grateful for a second chance at life, she developed a special friendship with her donor's family. »Read her story

Interstitial lung disease (ILD)--or pulmonary fibrosis--refers to more than 200 chronic lung disorders. With ILD, the tissue between the air sacs of the lungs (the interstitium) is affected by inflammation or scarring (fibrosis). The University of Chicago Medicine is one of only a handful of medical centers nationwide to have a program dedicated to diagnosing and treating ILD.

Experts in ILD

Because most ILDs are rare, patients with these disorders need a high level of expertise. We have a dedicated, fully-staffed clinic that includes a highly specialized team of physicians who are experts in ILDs. In fact, the director of our program sees nearly 100 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) a year--considerably more than that of physicians in other respiratory clinics.

Our doctors will also spend time with you--getting to know you and your symptoms. When you first come to our clinic, your office visit will be about an hour long. In order to best meet your needs, subsequent visits will also be longer than traditional doctor's visits.

In order to ensure the highest quality of care for our patients, we have formed a standardized approach to care. Because we take an evidence-based approach to treatment, any physician in our team will be able to understand your particular case and effectively treat your condition.

State-of-the-Art Diagnostics

Our physicians understand the complexity and difficulty in getting an accurate diagnosis of ILD. Since ILDs vary widely in their treatments, an accurate diagnosis is essential for a patient to receive the optimal treatment. Our expertise includes:

  • A list of standard lab tests that are always performed. This structured approach ensures that we check for all possible diagnoses.
  • New, high-resolution CAT scans
  • Minimally invasive diagnostic techniques--including bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)
  • Expert thoracic surgeons for diagnostic procedures requiring surgery
  • Lab reports read by a pulmonologist and a pathologist dedicated to lung diseases
  • Pulmonary function lab considered one of the best in the state

Coordinated Care

Lisa Wright, pictured pre-transplant with her grandson. When pulmonary fibrosis left her in need of a new lung, Lisa Wright turned to the University of Chicago. She credits the team approach to care for her quick recovery after surgery. » Read her story.

We are committed to keeping your primary care physician in the loop regarding your treatment. Better communication with your doctor means that if you have a respiratory emergency, you can be seen by your doctor--close to home. Because we work with your doctor to plan ongoing treatment regimens, you continue to see your doctor for your basic medical needs--with follow-up visits to our clinic on a regular basis.

In addition, if you should need a lung transplant, you do not have to be transferred to another medical center. The University of Chicago Medicine has one of the premier lung transplant programs in the region.

Breakthrough Research

The same University of Chicago ILD expert you see in the clinic is also conducting ILD research into better treatment options. Often, we can offer our patients medications for their disorder before they are widely available at other medical centers.

In addition, we are part of the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Clinical Research Network (CRN). Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the CRN's goal is to develop and conduct clinical research for the advancement of potential idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis therapies. The University of Chicago Medicine is one of only 11 medical centers in the CRN.

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  • Acute interstitial pneumonia (Hamman-Rich syndrome, idiopathic ARDS)
  • Alveolar proteinosis, pulmonary phospholipoproteinosis
  • Asbestosis
  • Berylliosis
  • Coal worker's pneumoconiosis (black lung disease)
  • Connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease
  • Desquamative interstitial pneumonia (DIP)
  • Farmer's lung
  • Hard-metal pneumoconiosis
  • Honeycomb lung
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HSP)
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia (LIP)
  • Mixed connective tissue disease
  • Nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP)
  • Pigeon breeder's disease
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Polymyositis, dermatomyositis
  • Pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis
  • Pulmonary eosinophilic granuloma (EG), histiocytosis X (HX), or Langerhans cell granulomatosis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Respiratory bronchiolitis
  • Respiratory bronchiolitis-associated interstitial lung disease (RB-ILD)
  • Rheumatoid lung
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma lung
  • Silicosis
  • Smoker's bronchiolitis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus lung)
  • Usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP)