Dr Devesh Dhasmana was fortunate to be able to present interim work on studies in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) at last month’s international respiratory meeting in the USA. The American Thoracic Society (ATS) annual meeting was held in San Francisco this year, and work on two aspects of IPF was presented in abstract form. The first is a study of the prevalence of this condition in Fife together with calculations on the healthcare burden this places on primary and secondary care resources. The second project is looking at novel reporting methods in those with complex interstitial lung disease, and trying to use computer-aided algorithms to reach a more focussed and targeted radiological diagnosis. 

IPF prevalence figures vary tremendously across the world, largely as there is poor agreement in what constitutes an accurate definition. Prevalence studies across the globe report ‘narrow’ and ‘broad’ range estimates of prevalence, according to the criteria used for diagnosis. Global estimates of IPF reported to date are in the order of 5-90 per 100,000 population. In Fife, our figures although still to be refined, place this in the region of 50-60/100,000. This is equivalent to 1 case per 2000 population, and the cusp of what many define as a ‘rare’ disease. This is in comparison to Cystic Fibrosis at 1/2000.

Burden of IPF poster, ATS, May 2016

The second work was that of the concept and development of the ‘Structured Reporting Form’ (SRF) in thoracic CT imaging reports. CT forms the basis of the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease, and with the risks of lung biopsy, CT analysis has become critical in forming an accurate diagnosis. There is, however, considerable variation in reporting, both in style and in content. We have begun work on creating a program that intuitively leads the reporter towards a more focussed and precise differential diagnosis. This remains a work in progress, and requires co-ordination of radiologists, clinicians and computer scientists working together on numerous programmes and on several platforms. The hope is that a user-friendly, structured and accurate reporting program can be created.

Structured Reporting Forms in Interstitial Lung Disease, ATS, May 2016

Many thanks go to the Dr Heller Memorial fund for providing some travel assistance to this meeting, support which was very much appreciated. If anyone would like to discuss these or other related projects in respiratory research, they are very welcome to contact Devesh Dhasmana.