Interstitial lung disease is an umbrella term for diseases which affect the delicate structure of the lungs. The interstitium is the supporting tissue in between the small air sacs (alveoli) within the lung. Inflammation or scarring in this tissue means that oxygen can't transfer to the blood stream efficiently.


The lungs can become stiff and inefficient which leads which leads to breathlessness. Small airways can become distorted, causing mucous build up and coughing


There are many different causes of interstitial lung disease, each requiring its own specific treatment. Some of these conditions are serious but others mild and it is very important to define the nature of the disease to find the right treatment and avoid side-effects.

At ChestCare there is a four stage approach to managing this condition:

  1. EVALUATION – A clinic visit to hear your symptoms and perform a physical examination with a range of tests. These include blood tests, pulmonary function (breathing) tests and a CT scan of the chest.
  2. DIAGNOSIS – A team of doctors is required to diagnose interstitial lung disease. The team members are a Pulmonologist, Radiologist and Pathologist. These doctors look at the test results including a lung biopsy to determine what type of interstitial lung disease you have.
  3. TREATMENT. This may be medication to combat the disease or supportive therapies such as oxygen or physiotherapy for fitness.
  4. REVIEW – Further testing may be needed to evaluate the impact of the disease such as if it safe to fly. This can be in the form of an exercise test like seeing how far you can walk in 6 minutes or giving you a lower level of oxygen to breathe, simulating the low oxygen environment on a plane. Usually the best way to determine if the disease is under control in the treatment phase is repeated pulmonary function testing about every three months.

At ChestCare we look forward to supporting you through the process of evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and review to ensure your care is medically optimised and suited to you.