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J Pediatr (Rio J). 2007 May-Jun;83(3):233-40.

Chronic interstitial lung disease in children.

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Hospital dos Servidores do Estado, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.



To describe clinical and diagnostic features and the results of therapeutic conduct in a group of pediatric patients with chronic interstitial lung disease.


A retrospective study of 25 immunocompetent patients, aged 2 months to 17 years, with chronic interstitial lung disease, admitted to the Pediatric Pulmonary Section, Department of Pediatrics, Hospital dos Servidores do Estado, over a 20-year period (1984-2004). A routine protocol for persistent chronic pneumonias was used and the patients with interstitial lung disease were selected. Clinical, laboratory and imaging data were analyzed.


Twenty-five patients were diagnosed with chronic interstitial lung disease, 13 were aged less than 2 years and 17 were male. Diagnoses were made based on history, physical examination and routine tests in one case, based on more complex tests in three cases and based on the results of invasive tests in 21 cases (20 by lung biopsy and one by bronchoalveolar lavage). Except for one patient with pulmonary lymphangiectasia, the long-term treatment (1 to 7 years) consisted of corticosteroid, in six cases associated with hydroxychloroquine. Four patients required home oxygen therapy. The authors followed the patients in the outpatient department (6 a 8 visits/year). Patient outcome was: good (15); regular, with mild sequelae (4); and poor, with severe sequelae (3). One patient was lost in the follow-up period and two died.


Chronic interstitial lung diseases in children are a group of rare pulmonary disorders, but a relevant one because of the possible progression to pulmonary fibrosis. Early diagnosis and a long-term, specialized treatment and follow-up are important for the patient outcome. Pediatricians should be aware of these diseases because in many cases diagnosis and treatment are overlooked.

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