Interstitial Pneumonia with Autoimmune Features: What the Rheumatologist Needs to Know

Elena K. Joerns, Traci N. Adams, Jeffrey A. Sparks, Chad A. Newton, Bonnie Bermas, David Karp, Una E. Makris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: This narrative review will focus on the role of the rheumatologist in evaluating patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) without a defined rheumatic disease and will outline the current classification criteria for interstitial pneumonia with autoimmune features (IPAF) and describe what is known regarding IPAF pathobiology, natural history, prognosis, and treatment. Lastly, knowledge gaps and opportunities for future research will be discussed. Recent Findings: IPAF is a recently defined classification of ILD patients who have features suggesting an autoimmune-mediated process, but do not fulfill current rheumatic disease criteria. The goal of the IPAF criteria is to provide a uniform case definition for the study of autoimmune ILD patients who do not currently fit within standard ILD diagnostic categories, ultimately improving diagnosis and therapy. Many of these patients are referred for rheumatologic evaluation to aid the diagnostic process. Summary: The care of the IPAF patient is complex and is multidisciplinary with pulmonology, rheumatology, pathology, radiology, physical therapy, primary care, pulmonary transplant providers all serving vital roles. The rheumatologist has several roles which include classification, disease monitoring, and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-226
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Rheumatology Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Interstitial pneumonia with autoimmune features
  • Pulmonary rheumatology collaboration
  • Rheumatologist evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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