Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a frequent complication of scleroderma and other connective tissue diseases. Currently the gold standard for the diagnosis of ILD as well as monitoring for disease progression is high resolution computed tomography (HRCT). However, using HRCT for these purposes has some drawbacks: it can lead to multiple HRCT scans over the lifetime of a patient resulting in significant cumulative radiation exposure, financial burden, and treatment delays due to the necessity of getting a HRCT scan.
Through pilot and validation studies, Dr. Chung and colleagues at Stanford are developing the use of lung ultrasound (LUS) to detect and manage connective tissue-associated ILD, and they will compare this technique to the gold-standard HRCT. Further, the group is studying whether particular LUS findings correlate with distinctive HRCT findings, functional features of ILD, or disease activity measures, which would further establish the utility of LUS in diagnosing and managing ILD.