Lung involvement is critical to outcomes in scleroderma. Its presence or absence and its severity are strong influences on clinical decision making about choices in treatment.
Lung involvement includes inflammation (potentially treatable), scarring (potentially preventable) and blood vessel injury leading to pulmonary hypertension (many FDA approved agents now available).
While lung involvement can be suspected if there is shortness of breath or fatigue during physical activity, these symptoms may also reflect being out of shape or be indicative of potential heart problems as well.
There are many useful tests of lung involvement that help to determine how active the problem might be but which also guide decisions about treatment. This important but complex area is best addressed in a team approach between rheumatologists and pulmonary specialists.
The University of Michigan Scleroderma Lung Clinic is designed to provide state-of-the-art team care. Full-time faculty of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, led by Drs. Tammy Clark Ojo and Kevin Chan, work in partnership with Scleroderma Program faculty in evaluating and treating scleroderma lung disease.
From time to time, this same team works together on experimental treatment projects.
This special clinic is held weekly at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor (see How to Schedule an Appointment).
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