JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prevalence and prognosis of unclassifiable interstitial lung disease

Christopher J Ryerson, Thomas H Urbania, Luca Richeldi, Joshua J Mooney, Joyce S Lee, Kirk D Jones, Brett M Elicker, Laura L Koth, Talmadge E King, Paul J Wolters, Harold R Collard
European Respiratory Journal 2013, 42 (3): 750-7
23222877
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, characteristics and outcomes of patients with unclassifiable interstitial lung disease (ILD) and to develop a simple method of predicting disease behaviour. Unclassifiable ILD patients were identified from an ongoing longitudinal cohort. Unclassifiable ILD was diagnosed after a multidisciplinary review did not secure a specific ILD diagnosis. Clinical characteristics and outcomes were compared with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and non-IPF ILDs. Independent predictors of mortality were determined using Cox proportional-hazards analysis to identify subgroups with distinct disease behaviour. Unclassifiable ILD was diagnosed in 10% of the ILD cohort (132 out of 1370 patients). The most common reason for being unclassifiable was missing histopathological assessment due to a high risk of surgical lung biopsy. Demographic and physiological features of unclassifiable ILD were intermediate between IPF and non-IPF disease controls. Unclassifiable ILD had longer survival rates when compared to IPF on adjusted analysis (hazard ratio 0.62, p = 0.04) and similar survival compared to non-IPF ILDs (hazard ratio 1.54, p = 0.12). Independent predictors of survival in unclassifiable ILD included diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (p = 0.001) and a radiological fibrosis score (p = 0.02). Unclassifiable ILD represents approximately 10% of ILD cases and has a heterogeneous clinical course, which can be predicted using clinical and radiological variables.

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