Pulmonary Fibrosis/Interstitial Lung Disease

The Henry Ford Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Program offers a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. ILD refers to a category of lung disorders that involve the small air sacs of the lung (the alveoli) and/or surrounding support structures of the lung (the interstitium) which become inflamed, thickened, and scarred (called fibrosis). The inflammation and scarring process results in less normal lung available to bring in oxygen, causing shortness of breath. ILD includes over 100 lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis, certain types of pneumonia, and pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.

Causes of ILD

ILD can be caused by environmental exposure to harmful substances, such as asbestos or coal dust, reaction to medications, or illnesses that affect other parts of the body such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.


Diagnosis of ILD relies on a detailed review of symptoms, work and home environments, medications, personal and family medical history, as well as a physical exam. Pulmonary function tests, a specialized computed tomography (CT) scan of the lungs, blood tests, and sometimes a lung biopsy are needed to determine the correct diagnosis.


The treatment of ILD depends on the specific type of ILD diagnosed. Treatment may involve stopping use of a medication or removal of an environmental exposure that is causing the lung reaction. Medication therapies that block inflammation (the process that can drive the lung to form scar tissue) may also be necessary.

Team care

At the Henry Ford Hospital ILD Clinic, our pulmonologists meet with radiologists and pathologists to review each patient's case, and work with thoracic surgeons to offer surgical lung biopsy when necessary and safe. For those ILD patients with advanced lung disease, lung transplantation is also offered at Henry Ford Hospital.

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