Is It Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis or Not?

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Pulmonary fibrosis is not uncommon. Usual interstitial pneumonitis (UIP)/idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most common of the idiopathic pulmonary fibrotic diseases and has the worst prognosis with a mean life expectancy of 3.8 years. The American Thoracic Society has provided guidelines for the accurate diagnosis of IPF.

In 2014, 2 antifibrotic medications were approved in the United States that target the multiple fibrotic pathways of UIP, which increased the need for early and accurate diagnosis of IPF. The early and correct diagnosis is hampered by mimickers that include nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis, chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and fibrotic sarcoidosis. Careful history taking, serologic testing, and Computer Tomography (CT) inspection can frequently make the correct diagnosis without need of invasive procedure. The purpose of this article is to share the most important aspects of the clinical and radiology presentation of IPF and its mimickers to enhance primary care clinician's ability to correctly and noninvasively diagnose UIP/IPF.

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