Functional impairment in fibrosing alveolitis: relationship to reversible disease on thin section computed tomography.

European Respiratory Journal

PubMedID: 9042621

Wells AU, Rubens MB, Du Bois RM, Hansell DM. Functional impairment in fibrosing alveolitis: relationship to reversible disease on thin section computed tomography. Eur Respir J. 1997;10(2):280-5.
Thin-section computed tomography (CT) provides a reproducible method of quantifying global disease extent and can also discriminate between fibrotic disease, with predominance of reticular abnormalities, and reversible inflammatory cell infiltration, shown as ground-glass attenuation. The aim of this study was to determine whether functional impairment varied according to the presence of ground-glass attenuation on CT, independently of extent of disease on CT, demographic factors, smoking history, therapeutic status, and the type of fibrosing alveolitis (lone cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (CFA) versus fibrosing alveolitis associated with systemic sclerosis (FASSc)). Patients with concurrent emphysema on CT (n = 16) and FASSc patients with end-stage pulmonary hypertension (n = 5) were excluded. One hundred and eleven patients were studied (CFA, n = 54; FASSc, n = 57). The severity of functional impairment did not vary independently with the presence of predominant ground-glass attenuation, mixed appearance and predominant reticulation on CT. In 34 treated patients undergoing serial CT scanning, the severity of functional impairment did not differ independently between patients with and without regression of ground-glass attenuation at follow-up. We conclude that the severity of functional impairment does not discriminate between inflammatory and fibrotic disease in fibrosing alveolitis, as judged by initial and serial computed tomographic scanning, after adjustment for the morphological extent of disease on computed tomography.