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Free Content Idiopathic interstitial pneumonias: a re-appraisal of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

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Over the last 30 years the clinical and histopathological definitions of the diffuse lung diseases have evolved considerably. Initially pathological entities were defined in parallel with clinico-radiological diagnoses, but these have more recently become consolidated into a more meaningful combined classification. These refinements have impacted on the diffuse lung diseases in particular, and have defined individual diseases more precisely than in previous classifications in which a number of distinct entities had been grouped together and mistaken for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, resulting in much confusion.

The American Thoracic and European Respiratory Societies' committees, charged with the task of defining the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias, have recently published a statement on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and a statement on the other idiopathic interstitial pneumonias should follow this year. Of these diseases, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is the most lethal, and this review deals with the impact that the changes in the nomenclature will have on our understanding of this and the other diseases with which idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis was previously confused and explores the implications of our new understanding on clinical practice. It also attempts to highlight areas of previous dogma in the literature that now need to be re-considered in the context of these more recent statements.
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Keywords: idiopathic interstitial pneumonias; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Royal Brompton Hospital, Sydney Street, London, UK

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

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