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Usual Interstitial Pneumonia
Classification and external resources
ICD-9 515
DiseasesDB alveolitis, cryptogenic.htm Fibrosing alveolitis, cryptogenic

Usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) is a form of lung disease characterized by progressive scarring of both lungs [1]. The scarring (fibrosis) involves the supporting framework (interstitium) of the lung. UIP is thus classified as a form of interstitial lung disease. The term "usual" refers to the fact that UIP is the most common form of interstitial fibrosis. "Pneumonia" indicates "lung abnormality". The term used for UIP in the British literature is cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis.



The cause of the scarring in UIP may be known or unknown. The latter situation is more common. Since the medical term for conditions of unknown cause is "idiopathic", the clinical term for UIP of unknown cause is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Examples of known causes of UIP include systemic sclerosis/scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, asbestosis and chronic nitrofurantoin toxicity.


The typical symptoms of UIP are progressive shortness of breath and cough for a period of months. In some patients, UIP is diagnosed only when a more acute disease supervenes and brings the patient to medical attention.


UIP may be diagnosed by a radiologist using a computed tomogram of the chest (CT scan of the chest), or by a pathologist using tissue obtained by a lung biopsy. Radiologically, the main feature required for a confident diagnosis of UIP is honeycomb change in the periphery and the lower portions (bases) of the lungs [2]. The histologic hallmarks of UIP, as seen in lung tissue under a microscope by a pathologist, are interstitial fibrosis in a "patchwork pattern", honeycomb change and fibroblast foci (see images below) [3].

Differential diagnosis

The differential diagnosis includes other types of lung disease that cause similar symptoms and show similar abnormalities on chest radiographs. Some of these diseases cause fibrosis, scarring or honeycomb change. The most common considerations include:


Regardless of etiology, UIP is relentlessly progressive, usually leading to respiratory failure and death. The outlook for long-term survival is poor. In most studies, the median survival is 3 to 4 years.


UIP, as a term, first appeared in the pathology literature. It was coined by Averill Abraham Liebow.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Travis WD, King TE, Bateman ED, et al. (2002). "ATS/ERS international multidisciplinary consensus classification of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. General principles and recommendations.". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 165 (5): 277–304. PMID 11790668.  
  2. ^ Sumikawa H, et al (2008). "Computed tomography findings in pathological usual interstitial pneumonia: relationship to survival.". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 177: 433–439. PMID 17975197.  
  3. ^ Katzenstein AL, Mukhopadhyay S, Myers JL (2008). "Diagnosis of usual interstitial pneumonia and distinction from other fibrosing interstitial lung diseases.". Human Pathology 39 (9): 1275–1294. PMID 18706349.  
  4. ^ Leslie, Kevin O; Wick, Mark R. (2005). Practical pulmonary pathology: a diagnostic approach. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0-443-06631-0. OCLC 156861539.  
  5. ^ Averill Abraham Liebow at Who Named It?

External links



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