A dedicated interstitial lung disease (ILD) clinic improves the care provided to patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), according to a recent study conducted by Gross et al.

Improvements were observed even in clinics located in small healthcare systems, regardless of their association with a tertiary care center. The results of the study will be presented at the Chest 2021 Annual Meeting being held virtually Oct. 17-20, 2021.

“Such dedicated care can also lead to more referrals to pulmonary rehab and palliative care,” the authors wrote. Therefore, this strategy has the potential to improve the monitoring of disease progression and comorbidities in a large number of patients with IPF.


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The ILD clinic provided closer monitoring of IPF endpoints than the general pulmonary clinic, such as using spirometry and the 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT). In the ILD clinic, both tests were performed every 6 months in 85.7% of patients. In the general pulmonary clinic, pulmonary function tests were performed in 46% of patients every 6 months, but none were assessed using the 6MWT.

All patients admitted to the ILD clinic were screened for sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and hypoxia. In the general pulmonary clinic, the evaluation of such parameters was performed in 46.2%, 84.6%, and 76.9% of patients, respectively.

In the ILD clinic, patients participated in all discussions regarding their pulmonary rehabilitation, whereas patients in the general pulmonary clinic had only participated 23% of the time. In addition, patients in the ILD clinic engaged in discussions concerning the goals of care 42.9% of the time, while this percentage was 38.5% in the general pulmonary clinic.

This study enrolled 20 patients with IPF who attended either the ILD clinic (n=7) or the general pulmonary clinic (n=13). The ILD clinic was constituted by a dedicated pulmonologist and respiratory therapist.

Reference

Gross A, L’Heureux M, Spulber A, Love A. Dedicated interstitial lung disease clinic improves care for veterans with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Chest. 2021;160(4):A1270. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2021.07.1158