Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with rheumatic diseases, such as connective-tissue diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic vasculitis. Some patients with ILD secondary to rheumatic disease (RD–ILD) experience acute exacerbations, with sudden ILD progression and high mortality during or immediately after the exacerbation, and a very low 1-year survival rate. In the ILD subtype idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), an acute exacerbation is defined as acute worsening or development of dyspnoea associated with new bilateral ground-glass opacities and/or consolidations at high-resolution CT, superimposed on a background pattern consistent with fibrosing ILD. However, acute exacerbation in RD–ILD (AE–RD–ILD) currently has no specific definition. The aetiology and pathogenesis of AE–RD–ILD remain unclear, but distinct triggers might include infection, mechanical stress, microaspiration and DMARD treatment. At this time, no effective evidence-based therapeutic strategies for AE–RD–ILD are available. In clinical practice, AE–RD–ILD is often empirically treated with high-dose systemic steroids and antibiotics, with or without immunosuppressive drugs. In this Review, we summarize the clinical features, diagnosis, management and prognosis of AE–RD–ILD, enabling the similarities and differences with acute exacerbation in IPF to be critically assessed.
Acute exacerbation of interstitial lung disease associated with rheumatic disease / Luppi, F.; Sebastiani, M.; Salvarani, C.; Bendstrup, E.; Manfredi, A.. - In: NATURE REVIEWS. RHEUMATOLOGY. - ISSN 1759-4790. - (2021), pp. N/A-N/A. [10.1038/s41584-021-00721-z]