Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease

Diagnosing Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease (chILD) is often difficult because these diseases are rare, and have symptoms that are similar to many other diseases. Before being able to diagnose chILD, doctors may need to rule out other possible conditions.

In addition to examining the medical history of a child and their family, diagnostic tests for chILD can include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan: looks at the tissue in the lungs.
  • Lung function tests: breathing tests – this requires a child old enough to cooperate.
  • Blood tests: may also include genetic testing and tests for immune function.
  • Lung biopsies: a small sample of lung tissue that is removed for examination.
  • Bronchoscopy: examination of the lungs by means of a flexible telescope passed via the trachea (windpipe). This may also involve a lavage (squirting fluid into a small part of the lung which is then collected for examination).
  • Sweat test: to exclude cystic fibrosis.
  • Tests to exclude gastro-oesophageal reflux and aspiration: the inhalation of substances into the lungs such as food, liquid or vomit. 
  • Overnight sleep test: to monitor breathing and oxygen in the blood.