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New system for classifying infant lung disease developed
Date:11/30/2007

A new classification system of rare lung diseases in infants is improving diagnosis and treatment. The system clears up considerable confusion about how to classify and treat diseases that are rarely seen by most doctors and pathologists, says Gail H. Deutsch, M.D., lead author of the multi-center study that developed the new guidelines.

Formerly, doctors used a number of different terms to label the same disease, explained Dr. Deutsch, who is an assistant professor of pathology at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital and Medical Center. In some cases, a disease with a favorable prognosis has been confused with a potentially lethal lung disease.

The research was published in the first issue for December 2007 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health through its Rare Lung Diseases Consortium, included data from 11 medical centers in North America. Investigators reviewed 187 biopsies of children under the age of 2 who were being evaluated for diffuse lung diseases like interstitial lung disease (ILD), an uncommon disorder that affects the interstitium, or tissue between the air sacs of the lungs. Children with ILD commonly have prolonged respiratory symptoms of fast breathing and low oxygen levels and exhibit diffuse changes on chest radiographs. When the cause of their symptoms is not identified with blood tests or x-rays, a surgical lung biopsy is often needed for diagnosis.

In this study, the researchers were able to classify 88 percent of the 187 lung biopsy cases, and found a diverse spectrum of lung diseases that are largely unique to young children.

One-quarter of the lung diseases studied were grouped together under the label growth abnormalities. The best-known is pulmonary hypoplasia, in which prenatal conditions result in deficient lung growth. Another group of diseases was categorized as sur
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Contact: Suzy Martin
smartin@thoracic.org
212-315-8631
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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