Childhood interstitial lung disease (chILD) is rare, and little research has been done on how to treat it. At this time, chILD has no cure. However, some children who have certain diseases, such as neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia of infancy, may slowly improve over time.
Current treatment approaches include supportive therapy, medicines, and, in the most serious cases, lung transplants.
Supportive therapy refers to treatments that help relieve symptoms or improve quality of life. Supportive approaches used to relieve common chILD symptoms include:
Corticosteroids are a common treatment for many children who have chILD. These medicines help reduce lung inflammation.
Other medicines can help treat specific types or causes of chILD. For example, antimicrobial medicines can treat a lung infection. Acid-blocking medicines can prevent acid reflux, which can lead to aspiration.
A lung transplant may be an option for children who have severe chILD if other treatments haven't worked.
Currently, lung transplants are the only effective treatment for some types of chILD that have a high risk of death, such as alveolar capillary dysplasia and certain surfactant dysfunction mutations.
Early diagnosis of these diseases gives children the chance to receive lung transplants. So far, chILD doesn't appear to come back in patients' transplanted lungs.
For more information about this treatment, go to the Health Topics Lung Transplant article.
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