Question- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a form of chronic, progressive fibrosing interstitial pneumonia of unknown cause. IPF is associated with histopathologic and radiologic patterns of usual interstitial pneumonia in the absence of other known causes of interstitial lung disease and is characterized by unexplained slowly progressive dyspnea that can be accompanied by a nonproductive cough. The estimated median survival after diagnosis for IPF is 3–5 years. What are the possible etiologies of this disorder?
Answer- The cited reference notes “Although the etiology of IPF is unknown, exposures that have been suggested as contributing factors include viral infections, cigarette smoking, and occupations where exposure to dust, wood dust, and metal dust are common.” Recently dental personnel have been identified as possibly at an increased risk for IPF. (Nett RJ et al. Dental personnel treated for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at a tertiary care center- Virginia, 2000-2015. 2018 MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 67:270-273. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6709a2)