(See also Overview of Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias Overview of Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias Idiopathic interstitial pneumonias are interstitial lung diseases that have no known cause that have some similarities in symptoms and how they affect the lungs. Some types of these diseases... read more .)
Acute interstitial pneumonia causes the same type of symptoms as the acute respiratory distress syndrome Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a type of respiratory (lung) failure resulting from many different disorders that cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs and oxygen levels in the blood... read more . It tends to affect healthy men and women who are usually older than 40 years.
Fever, cough, and difficulty breathing develop over 1 to 2 weeks, typically progressing to acute respiratory failure Respiratory Failure Respiratory failure is a condition in which the level of oxygen in the blood becomes dangerously low or the level of carbon dioxide in the blood becomes dangerously high. Conditions that block... read more .
The diagnosis is confirmed when other causes of acute lung injury are excluded and consistent findings are found with computed tomography (CT) and lung biopsy, if done.
Treatment aims to keep the person alive until the disorder resolves. Mechanical ventilation Mechanical Ventilation Mechanical ventilation is use of a machine to aid the movement of air into and out of the lungs. Some people with respiratory failure need a mechanical ventilator (a machine that helps air get... read more is needed if there is respiratory failure. Corticosteroids are generally used, but it is not clear whether they are effective.
More than 50% of affected people die within 6 months, usually as a result of respiratory failure. In people who survive, lung function usually improves with time. However, the disease may recur.