Connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease

R. P. Oliveira, R. Ribeiro, L. Melo, B. Grima, S. Oliveira, J. D. Alves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Connective tissue diseases (CTD) are frequently associated with interstitial lung disease (ILD), significantly impacting their morbidity and mortality. Aim: Analyze the experience of an autoimmune specialized unit on treating CTD-ILD and characterize the population based on most frequent diseases, imaging patterns, lung function tests results, serology and treatment. Assess mortality and mortality predictors in these patients. Methods: Retrospective, descriptive and statistical analysis of the CTD-ILD patients followed up at an autoimmune diseases unit during a 6-year period. Results: Over the study period, 75 patients with CTD-ILD were treated with a mean follow-up of 49 ± 31 months. The most frequent CTD were systemic sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. ILD was diagnosed prior to CTD in 8% of patients and concomitantly in 35%. Nonspecific interstitial pneumonia was the CT pattern in 60% and 35% had an isolated diminished DLCO on lung function tests. Pulmonary hypertension was present in 12% and it was the single most important mortality predictor (OR 14.41, p = 0.006). Corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment but biologics were prescribed in 39% of the patients (mostly tocilizumab and rituximab). Two scleroderma patients were recently treated with nintedanib. Conclusions: ILD is a potential complication of every CTD and can impose a dramatic burden on these patients. The clinical relevance of ILD together with their early expression in the course of the disease underlines the importance of the presence of chest physicians in these units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Issue number2
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Connective tissue disease
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Nintedanib
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Tocilizumab


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