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Commentary |

Connective Tissue Disease-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease: A Call for Clarification

Aryeh Fischer, MD; Sterling G. West, MD; Jeffrey J. Swigris, DO; Kevin K. Brown, MD; Roland M. du Bois, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Interstitial and Autoimmune Lung Disease Program (Drs Fischer, Swigris, Brown, and du Bois), National Jewish Health, and Division of Rheumatology (Drs Fischer and West), National Jewish Health and University of Colorado, Denver, CO.

Correspondence to: Aryeh Fischer, MD, National Jewish Health, 1400 Jackson St, Denver, CO 80206; e-mail: fischera@njhealth.org


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2010;138(2):251-256. doi:10.1378/chest.10-0194
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This commentary highlights the present dilemmas surrounding the classification of a patient with interstitial pneumonia who has clinical features suggesting an associated connective tissue disease but the features fall short of a clear diagnosis of connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease under the current rheumatologic classification systems. This commentary illustrates what we perceive to be the limitations in the present approach to the classification of this group of patients and discusses problems with redefining the diagnosis of undifferentiated connective tissue disease to encompass patients with interstitial pneumonia. Finally, we advocate not only for a multidisciplinary approach to evaluation, but also disease classification and offer a proposal to define them as a distinct phenotype—lung-dominant CTD—for which prognostic, therapeutic, and pathobiologic implications can be tested in future, hopefully multiinstitutional, studies.


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