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Bridging Diagnostic Gaps in Pulmonary Fibrosis

6/17/2024

 Black and white computed tomography (CT) scan of lungs.

A recent collaborative effort between Children’s Hospital Colorado pulmonologists and radiologists, as well as international colleagues, has led to the development of computed tomography (CT) imaging criteria specifically designed for diagnosing pulmonary fibrosis in children. This initiative, detailed in the landmark study (1) published in the January 2024 edition of Pediatric Pulmonology, aims to help providers use imaging to quickly identify pediatric pulmonary fibrosis, allowing patients to get the care they need.

Highlighting the urgency of developing specific CT imaging criteria for pediatric pulmonary fibrosis, Children’s Colorado radiologist Jason Weinman, MD, pointed out the critical nature of this advancement. “Given the advent of clinical trials and subsequent treatment for fibrosis in children, it is critical to identify the patients with fibrosis, especially since many are poor candidates for lung biopsy due to advanced lung disease,” Dr. Weinman says.

The study underlines the distinct manifestations of pulmonary fibrosis in children compared to adults, notably the absence of honeycombing (clustered cystic airspaces) and more diffuse CT findings. This collaborative effort not only paves the way for early identification and treatment of pediatric pulmonary fibrosis but also ensures the inclusion of these patients in vital clinical trials. Emily DeBoer, MD, pulmonologist at Children’s Colorado, emphasizes the impact of the newly developed criteria on research. “The criteria already have influenced the inclusion of pediatric patients in clinical trials,” Dr. DeBoer says. “They have been used to help enroll in clinical trials with further validation planned for future trials.”

This research underscores the need to differentiate between pediatric and adult pulmonary fibrosis, as it is crucial for the transition from pediatric to adult care. “Understanding the differences between adult and peds patterns can help providers prepare for this transition,” Dr. DeBoer says. “This research not only enhances our understanding of pediatric pulmonary fibrosis but also exemplifies the critical role of interdisciplinary collaboration in advancing pediatric healthcare.”

Citations

  1. DeBoer EM, Weinman JP, Ley-Zaporozhan J, et al. “Imaging of Pulmonary Fibrosis in Children: A Review, With Proposed Diagnostic Criteria.” Pediatric Pulmonology. Published online January 12, 2024. doi:10.1002/ppul.26857.