Overlap of interstitial pneumonia with autoimmune features with undifferentiated connective tissue disease and contribution of UIP to mortality

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Abstract

Background and objective

Criteria for interstitial pneumonia with autoimmune features (IPAF) were recently established for research purposes in a joint statement from the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and American Thoracic Society (ATS). We reviewed the utility of these criteria in patients previously diagnosed as broadly defined undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) and noted overlapping IPAF findings. Additional review was given to IPAF patients with usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) on histopathology or radiology in terms of survival and outcome.

Methods

Patients with prior UCTD-interstitial lung disease (ILD) were screened by ERS/ATS criteria for IPAF. Clinical data along with all-cause mortality were collated and compared with selected idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients from the same study period. Survival was compared between IPAF subgroups with and without UIP features.

Results

One hundred and one UCTD-ILD subjects (91%) evaluated from 2005 to 2012 also met strict criteria for IPAF. Frequent clinical findings included Raynaud’s phenomenon, positive anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) and non-specific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) pattern on chest computed tomography (CT). Nineteen had features of UIP either on histopathology or CT imaging. As compared with IPF, IPAF patients had overall better survival except in those with UIP features.

Conclusion

Current IPAF criteria encompassed the majority of broadly defined UCTD-ILD and included those with UIP findings. Survival compared with IPF in those with UIP was similar. Further studies are necessary to refine IPAF definitions for clinical use and guide directed management strategies.

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