Doctors diagnose childhood interstitial lung disease (chILD) based on a child's medical and family histories and the results from tests and procedures. To diagnose chILD, doctors may first need to rule out other diseases as the cause of a child's symptoms.
Early diagnosis of chILD may help doctors stop or even reverse lung function problems. Often though, doctors find chILD hard to diagnose because:
Going to a pediatric pulmonologist who has experience with chILD is helpful. A pediatric pulmonologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating children who have lung diseases and conditions.
Your child's medical history can help his or her doctor diagnose chILD. The doctor may ask whether your child:
The doctor also may ask how old your child was when symptoms began, and whether other family members have or have had severe lung diseases. If they have, your child may have an inherited form of chILD.
No single test can diagnose the many types of chILD. Thus, your child's doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests. For some of these tests, infants and young children may be given medicine to help them relax or sleep.
If these tests don't provide enough information, your child's doctor may recommend a lung biopsy. A lung biopsy is the most reliable way to diagnose chILD and the specific disease involved.
A lung biopsy is a surgical procedure that's done in a hospital. Before the biopsy, your child will receive medicine to make him or her sleep.
During the biopsy, the doctor will take small samples of lung tissue from several places in your child's lungs. This often is done using video-assisted thoracoscopy (thor-ah-KOS-ko-pe).
For this procedure, the doctor inserts a small tube with a light and camera (endoscope) into your child's chest through small cuts between the ribs. The endoscope provides a video image of the lungs and allows the doctor to collect tissue samples.
After the biopsy, the doctor will look at these samples under a microscope.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Visit Children and Clinical Studies to hear experts, parents, and children talk about their experiences with clinical research.
November 20, 2013
Gary H. Gibbons
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