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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Scarring vs. interstitial changes

07/05/2007

Question:

I had a cxr which showed intersitial prominence and a chest ct that showed bibasilar scarring vs interstitial changes. I had bilat pneumonia as a child. Could this possibly cause scarring or is it more likely interstitial changes since there is interstitial prominence on the chest film? I also have a low dlco. What would be symptoms of this worsening that would indicate further testing should be done? Thanks! Have a great July 4th!

Answer:

Interstitial changes and scarring are hard to distinguish and in fact, overlap significantly. The best way to know about your situation would be an old chest X-ray that could let you know if this is new. If these changes are old then there would be less concern.

The major symptom to be looking for would be increasing shortness of breath or coughing. Your doctor would also listen to hear crackles on exam of the chest and the lung function tests would be useful. The low diffusion capacity is concerning, but not definitive by itself.

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Response by:

Mark D Wewers, MD Mark D Wewers, MD
Professor of Pulmonology, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Environmental Health Sciences
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University