Symptoms and Signs of Interstitial Lung Disease (Interstitial Pneumonia)

Doctor's Notes on Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial lung disease is inflammation in the interstitial tissue of the lungs, the spaces and supportive tissue that surround and separate the air sacs (alveoli), and not the air sacs themselves. Interstitial inflammation typically occurs all over the lungs and is not confined to one location.

Symptoms of interstitial lung disease develop gradually as a result of decreased lung function and may include shortness of breath, dry cough, and signs of chronically reduced oxygen levels in the blood such as clubbing (a painless enlargement of the fingertips) and an enlarged heart. Complications of interstitial lung disease include pulmonary hypertension (a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries within the lungs), right-sided heart failure (cor pulmonale), and respiratory failure, which can be fatal.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.