Patient Guideline Summary
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the American College of Chest Physicians for hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an allergic reaction to airborne irritants.
- Some of the most common causes are bacteria, molds, animals, and industrial chemicals.
- Symptoms include breathing difficulty and coughing.
- This patient summary focuses on the diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
- The top priority is identifying the irritating agents by an intensive review of exposures related to symptoms.
- For workplace symptoms, an occupational medicine specialist will be helpful.
- For other locations an environmental hygienist is useful.
- Imaging studies – high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) – will be needed to determine if the lungs are fibrotic.
- HRCT and symptom response to medical treatment will aid in the diagnosis.
- Bronchoscopy, lung biopsy, and laboratory testing may be needed as well.
- A complete diagnosis depends not only on the above findings but also on individual patient experience with irritant control and a discussion among the treatment team.
- HRCT: High-resolution Computed Tomography