Interstitial Lung Disease Encompasses More than 200 Disorders

woman looking at x-ray

Interstitial lung disease, or ILD, encompasses a group of more than 200 disorders that cause scarring or inflammation of the lungs. The causes of ILD vary; for example, the condition can be triggered by exposure to hazardous materials or an autoimmune disease. The effects are often irreversible.

At University of Florida Health, our team of specialists at the UF Health Interstitial Lung Disease Program provide expert care and conduct ongoing research for those suffering from the disease.

The program is nationally accredited by the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, the World Association of Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Diseases, the Lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM, Foundation, and the Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis, or PAP, Foundation.

Among the largest of its kind in the country with six physicians and a research coordinator, over the past year the program had over 1,750 clinic visits. The team comprises UF Health pulmonologists, including Borna Mehrad, M.D.; Ibrahim Faruqi, M.D.; Divya C. Patel, D.O.; Diana Gomez Manjarres, M.D.; Gabrielle Graves, M.D.; and Chris Harden, M.D.

The UF Health ILD Program is one of three Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Care Center Network sites in Florida, a mark of excellence in coordinated care for patients with ILD, and attracts patients from across Florida and Georgia. The team cares for patients with a variety of ILDs, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, connective tissue disease related interstitial lung disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and sarcoidosis. The team offers not only evaluation and management of the disease but also a full review of each patient in a multidisciplinary setting that includes radiologists and pathologists. This is the “gold standard” to diagnose ILD.

The UF Health ILD team also participates in clinical trials that could provide patients treatment options that were not previously available.  Other treatment options involve collaborations with colleagues in the UF division of rheumatology and gastroenterology. Working collaboratively with these specialists allows patients to see up to three providers during the same visit and ensures communication between the patient’s care team. Other resources available to patients includes management of pulmonary hypertension related to ILD from specialists in the field.

In addition to medical care, the team pays special attention to patients’ emotional and mental well-being. ILD support groups are hosted every two months, where patients are encouraged to openly discuss their experiences and feelings regarding their diagnoses. The group invites expert speakers on a variety of topics, and has at least two physicians onsite to foster patient relationships outside of the clinic.

UF Health’s comprehensive approach to care creates unique healing opportunities for patients and their families. It provides patients peace of mind, knowing they are prioritized through every step of the way.