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Published: July 30, 2010
Updated: July 30, 2010
Pulmonary fibrosis and other and interstitial lung diseases (ILD) can be caused by a wide variety of reasons, making it very hard to diagnose.
At Duke, we use advanced diagnostic tests to ensure you get an accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment therapy for your condition.
You will be asked to fill out a number of questionnaires concerning your medical history. Our doctors use this detailed history to identify predisposition to ILD.
Patients with suspected pulmonary fibrosis or ILD will undergo a chest x-ray to help doctors view scarring and inflammation in the lungs.
Patients with pulmonary fibrosis or ILD rarely have a normal chest x-ray, though the x-ray doesn't necessarily show the specific scar patterns.
The HRCT is a three-dimensional image of the lung interstitium that gives clues about the cause of pulmonary fibrosis. Our radiologists and pulmonologists are experts at interpreting the results of the scans.
Blood tests help us determine if immune diseases or environmental factors are the cause of your ILD.
We offer several blood tests to identify immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, scleroderma, and polymyositis that can lead to pulmonary fibrosis or ILD. Other blood tests indicate exposure to molds and other organic compounds that cause pulmonary fibrosis.
Currently, our doctors are developing diagnostic blood tests to identify signatures in the blood that will facilitate and simplify the diagnostic approach for patients with ILD.
Pulmonary function tests are breathing tests that measure the amount and rate of air flowing in and out of your lungs, as well as the oxygen uptake by the lungs.
These tests help us determine the strength of your lungs and hint at possible diseases that may be present.
This simple test uses a probe on the skin to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. The test is particularly useful when combined with walking or exercise to determine if your blood oxygen level remains steady with activity.
A bronchoscopy is an outpatient diagnostic test where a fiberoptic endoscope, a bronchoscope, is inserted into the windpipe and bronchial tubes to collect lung fluid or take several pencil-tip sized lung biopsies.
This minimally invasive surgery is used to obtain thumb-sized pieces of lung tissue and is sometimes necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Three small incisions are made to insert a camera and surgical instruments. Since the incisions are no larger than one inch and the recovery time is a few days, physicians typically decide if this is a necessary procedure on a case-by-case basis.