Interstitial Pneumonia With Autoimmune Features: An Emerging Challenge at the Intersection of Rheumatology and Pulmonology

Erin M. Wilfong, Robert J. Lentz, Adam Guttentag, James J. Tolle, Joyce E. Johnson, Jonathan A. Kropski, Peggy L. Kendall, Timothy S. Blackwell, Leslie J. Crofford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Interstitial lung disease (ILD) remains a cause of significant morbidity and mortality in patients with connective tissue disease (CTD)–associated ILD. While some patients meet clear classification criteria for a systemic rheumatic disease, a subset of patients do not meet classification criteria but still benefit from immunosuppressive therapy. In 2015, the American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society described classification criteria for interstitial pneumonia with autoimmune features (IPAF) to identify patients with lung-predominant CTD who lack sufficient features of a systemic rheumatic disease to meet classification criteria. Although these criteria are imperfect, they are an important attempt to classify the patient with undifferentiated disease for future study. Rheumatologists play a key role in the evaluation of potential IPAF in patients, especially as many patients with a myositis-spectrum disease (e.g., non–Jo-1 antisynthetase syndrome, anti–melanoma differentiation–associated protein 5 antibody inflammatory myositis, or anti–PM/Scl antibody–associated inflammatory myositis) would be classified under IPAF using the currently available criteria for inflammatory myositis, and would therefore benefit from rheumatologic comanagement. The aim of this review was to describe the historical context that led to the development of these criteria and to discuss the limitations of the current criteria, diagnostic challenges, treatment options, and strategies for disease monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1901-1913
Number of pages13
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


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