Children’s Interstitial and Diffuse Lung Disease Center

About Children's Interstitial and Diffuse Lung Disease

Children’s interstitial and diffuse lung disease (chILD) is not one disease or disorder, but a number of them. These diseases cause a thickening of the interstitium (the tissue that extends throughout the lungs) due to scarring, inflammation or fluid buildup. This thickening affects carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange between the alveoli (microscopic air sacs throughout the lungs) and the tissue surrounding them, which eventually affects a patient’s ability to breathe and distribute enough oxygen to the blood.

There are several different types of interstitial and diffuse lung diseases, including:

  1. Those appearing in infancy, mainly with genetic and development causes
  2. Those that occur despite a normal immune system, mainly from infections and environmental agents
  3. Those that affect the lungs, along with many other organs and systems
  4. Those enabled by a weak immune system
  5. Those affecting the interstitium (the lung tissue between cells) or platform for the gas-exchanging alveoli

The most common symptoms of chILD include attempts to compensate for lack of oxygen by breathing faster or by over-working muscles in the neck and chest.

Evaluation and diagnosis

In order to diagnose a form of interstitial lung disease, it is crucial to rule out all other possible causes of the contributing signs and symptoms.

There are a wide variety of tests that can help to confirm your child’s diagnosis, including but not limited to:

Treatment approach

There is no single treatment for children's interstitial and diffuse lung disease. Each child treated by CHOP’s ChILD Center will receive an individualized medical care plan based on the underlying cause of the disease.

All treatment regimens will be focused on preventing disease progression and active illnesses, relieving symptoms, and maximizing growth and development. The following are the most common treatment methods available:

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