Interstitial lung disease in polymyositis and dermatomyositis


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewThe purpose of this review is to discuss current concepts regarding management of interstitial lung disease in polymyositis and dermatomyositis.Recent findingsInterstitial lung disease seems to be a more frequent manifestation in patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis than previously reported. Modern technology, including high-resolution computerized tomography in combination with pulmonary function tests provides sensitive tools to detect early signs of interstitial lung disease. By systematic use of these investigations in newly diagnosed polymyositis and dermatomyositis, up to two thirds of patients were discovered to have signs of interstitial lung disease in a recent study. Clinical symptoms such as cough and dyspnea may not be sensitive enough to detect interstitial lung disease. Awareness of this complication in patients with myositis is important, because early diagnosis and management of interstitial lung disease may prevent development of chronic pulmonary fibrosis and thereby prolong patient survival and improve quality of life. Treatment recommendations of interstitial lung disease in polymyositis and dermatomyositis are still limited by absence of controlled trials and could only be based on experiences from small case series and case reports. At least some patients with interstitial lung disease improve with immunosuppressive treatment, but data are limited, and longitudinal studies are needed.SummaryInterstitial lung disease seems to be a common manifestation in patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis already at diagnosis of the muscle disease. When present, interstitial lung disease has a major effect on morbidity and mortality and should be looked for in these patients using high-resolution computerized tomography and pulmonary function tests early in the disease course, because immunosuppressive treatment may change the course of the lung disease.

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