Study objectives: To report on our experience with acute interstitial pneumonia (AIP) in which patients underwent early diagnostic procedures and received mechanical ventilation with a “lung-protective” strategy and early institution of immunosuppressive therapy.
Design: A retrospective chart review.
Setting: A tertiary referral hospital.
Participants: Ten patients with AIP who presented with idiopathic ARDS and showed diffuse alveolar damage on surgical lung biopsy specimens from July 1995 to March 2004.
Measurements and results: The median age of patients was 65.5 years (age range, 38 to 73 years). Patients presented with a median duration of severe dyspnea of 9.5 days (range, 2 to 34 days) at the hospital visit. All patients required mechanical ventilation beginning at median time of hospital day 1 (range, hospital day 0 to 5), which continued for a median duration of 9.5 days (range, 4 to 98 days). Patients received ventilation in the pressure assist-control mode with a median tidal volume of 6.97 mL/kg (range, 6.05 to 8.86 mL/kg) and median positive end-expiratory pressure of 11 cm H2O (range, 8 to 16 cm H2O). An aggressive diagnostic workup for respiratory infection, including BAL at a median time of hospital day 2 (range, hospital day 1 to 5) was performed. High-dose steroid pulse therapy was initiated on median hospital day 3.5 (range, hospital day 1 to 8), while surgical lung biopsy was performed on median hospital day 4 (range, hospital day 2 to 7). Eight patients (80%) survived to hospital discharge.
Conclusion: Earlier intervention, such as an aggressive diagnostic approach, mechanical ventilation with lung-protective strategy, and the early institution of immunosuppressive may improve clinical outcome in patients with AIP.