Increased respiratory morbidity in individuals with interstitial lung abnormalities

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BACKGROUND: Interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) are common in participants of lung cancer screening trials and broad population-based cohorts. They are associated with increased mortality, but less is known about disease specific morbidity and healthcare utilisation in individuals with ILA.

METHODS: We included all participants from the screening arm of the Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial with available baseline CT scan data (n = 1990) in this cohort study. The baseline scan was scored for the presence of ILA and patients were followed for up to 12 years. Data about all hospital admissions, primary healthcare visits and medicine prescriptions were collected from the Danish National Health Registries and used to determine the participants' disease specific morbidity and healthcare utilisation using Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: The 332 (16.7%) participants with ILA were more likely to be diagnosed with one of several respiratory diseases, including interstitial lung disease (HR: 4.9, 95% CI: 1.8-13.3, p = 0.008), COPD (HR: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2-2.3, p = 0.01), pneumonia (HR: 2.0, 95% CI: 1.4-2.7, p <  0.001), lung cancer (HR: 2.7, 95% CI: 1.8-4.0, p <  0.001) and respiratory failure (HR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1-3.0, p = 0.03) compared with participants without ILA. These findings were confirmed by increased hospital admission rates with these diagnoses and more frequent prescriptions for inhalation medicine and antibiotics in participants with ILA.

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with ILA are more likely to receive a diagnosis and treatment for several respiratory diseases, including interstitial lung disease, COPD, pneumonia, lung cancer and respiratory failure during long-term follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2020

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