UT Medicine San Antonio, the academic clinical practice of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, recently announced it has joined the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF)’s Care Center Network, a growing group of medical centers dedicated to the care of patients suffering from fibrotic lung disease.
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a type of interstitial lung disease, affects the tissue that supports the alveoli in the lung. It is characterized by the inflammation or accumulation of scar tissue (denominated fibrosis) in the lung, leading to loss of elasticity and failure of proper lung activity in transferring oxygen to the bloodstream.
These physical problems manifest themselves in the patient’s quality of life with the development of a cough, shortness of breath, less tolerance to exercise and activity and, ultimately, to respiratory failure.
PF can occur due to many causes, such as the consequence of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis; occupational exposures; or environmental factors. Certain medications to treat infections and heart disease can also cause PF. When the cause of the fibrosis is not known, the disease is referred to as idiopathic PF (IPF).
The PFF is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 that has developed a series of programs designed to inform and assist both PF patients and clinicians. One of these is the PFF Care Center Network that now includes 40 medical centers across the U.S. The UT Medicine San Antonio center joins two other Texas facilities: the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
The main focus of the Care Center Network is the education and awareness of both the public and the medical community regarding PF in order to raise the number of quick and accurate diagnoses, as UT Medicine pulmonologist and PFF Care Center director Dr. Anoop Nambiar said in a UT Medicine press release provided to Lung Disease News: “Pulmonary fibrosis is relatively rare compared to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There is often considerable uncertainty about establishing a timely and accurate diagnosis and management plan.”
Through this network of specialized centers, the PFF hopes to deliver the highest quality of care to PF patients, grant access to lung transplantation programs, and research clinical trials.