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CHEST and the Three Lakes Foundation Collaborate to Reduce Time to Diagnosis of Interstitial Lung Disease

The Three Lakes Foundation and the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) recently announced their collaboration on a multi-phase educational initiative aimed at reducing the time it takes to diagnose patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD).

Affecting approximately 400,000 people in the United States, PID is a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the lungs and/or permanent scarring (fibrosis). Symptoms are similar to other more common lung diseases, often resulting in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Some studies show that reaching a correct diagnosis for rarer lung diseases can take several years.

Of the known ILD conditions, the most common is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (PF). This condition causes scarring and stiffness of the lung tissue, which reduces its size and capacity. Scarring with PF cannot be reversed or repaired, and there is no known cure. Currently, approximately 30,000 to 40,000 patients are diagnosed with PF each year, while another 40,000 lose their lives to the disease each year.

Despite scientific advances and increasing information available, rapid and accurate diagnosis of PF remains a challenge. The course of the disease varies from person to person and can progress rapidly in some cases, increasing the need for diagnosis of the disease in its early stages. By the time patients learn they have PF, the disease can require dependency on oxygen use, hospitalizations, and can lead to poor quality of life and a significantly shortened lifespan.

“One of the issues leading to a prolonged diagnosis is that patients may have symptoms that are also common in other respiratory conditions, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing and fatigue,” explains the CHEST member and associate professor of pulmonary medicine at the University of Utah, Mary Beth Scholand, MD. “Without an accurate diagnosis, ILD patients, especially those with PF, may be misdiagnosed with bronchitis, COPD, COVID-19, or asthma and often go through a series of exams, tests, and therapies over a period of time. months. It is therefore essential to close the gap. Therapies can be initiated to manage the symptoms and the progression of the disease.”

“As a catalyst for change in the FP community, we have spoken with patients, healthcare professionals, physicians, and advocacy groups to advance understanding of the FP diagnostic experience,” said Dana Ball, executive director of the Three Lakes Foundation. “We contacted CHEST when it became clear that primary care physicians could use specific tools to identify high-risk patients with lung disease. This collaboration is the result of our shared need to increase awareness among healthcare professionals and improve patient outcomes.

CHEST has built a global reputation for advancing the best patient outcomes through innovative training in thoracic medicine, clinical research and team-based care. The Three Lakes Foundation is known for its work to improve diagnosis time and expedite treatment options for PF. Through this partnership, we aim to change the trajectory of diagnosis, treatment and care for patients with IPD like FP. »

Robert A. Musacchio, PhD, CEO of CHEST

The Three Lakes Foundation is providing seed funding to CHEST to begin designing an educational intervention that fills gaps in knowledge and practice and will play an active role in overseeing program development. CHEST will bring together key health care providers from the fields of primary care, family medicine, nursing, and pulmonary medicine to collaborate in identifying needs and strategies to improve diagnosis and raise awareness of the disease. MPI. CHEST will evaluate, research and measure the program’s impact on clinical practice and patient care and estimates a global reach of over 100,000 healthcare providers by the time the program is fully implemented.


American College of Thoracic Physicians