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Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Program

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a term that describes a group of conditions that cause scarring and inflammation in the lungs. Our ILD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) program provides timely diagnosis, expert treatment and supportive care for these complex disorders. As the only clinic of its kind in the region, our program is led by renowned physician-scientist Patricia Sime, M.D., FRCP; Apostolos Perelas, M.D.; and Peter Jackson, M.D. We also collaborate with other specialties, such as rheumatology, to offer convenient, specialty care for qualifying patients.

Treating a Range of Interstitial Lung Diseases

Our ILD medical team has the expertise and skill to provide comprehensive guidance to our patients during the diagnosis, treatment and management of interstitial lung disease.

The conditions most commonly treated include:

  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HSP)
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease
  • Non-specific interstitial pneumonia
  • Organizing pneumonia
  • Lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans
  • Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis
  • Smoking related interstitial lung disease
  • Scleroderma lung disease

Providing the Full Spectrum of Lung Disease Care

The major aim of our program is to deliver timely, efficient and patient-centered care in individuals with interstitial lung disease. Our multidisciplinary approach incorporates the expertise of pulmonologists, radiologists, rheumatologists, pathologists and thoracic surgeons to provide comprehensive treatment.

In cases where the diagnosis is still in question after the initial evaluation, we offer both surgical biopsy and transbronchial cryobiopsy, a novel minimally invasive technique that can offer a diagnosis without the need for hospitalization. Biopsy specimens are evaluated by our pathologists experienced in thoracic diseases and are reviewed with a multi-disciplinary team at our monthly conference. Thus, we are able to reach a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan in a timely manner.

For treatment of interstitial lung disease, our team is experienced in using the newest state-of-the-art therapies. We also emphasize the role of pulmonary rehabilitation therapy as a modality to improve functionality and the quality of life. Moreover, eligible patients can qualify for participation in clinical trials of potentially groundbreaking treatments.

Follow up, including chest CTs, pulmonary function testing and pulmonary rehabilitation can be performed at our state-of-the-art facilities around the greater Richmond area.

What Patients Can Expect Under Our Care

The Path to Our ILD Care
Because of the nature of interstitial lung diseases, patients will usually be referred to us by their primary care provider, rheumatologist or pulmonologist (though patients can schedule through self referral or for second opinions). If available, patients should bring their images and lung function tests with them to their first appointment. A new chest CT and new pulmonary function tests may also be ordered prior to or at the first appointment.

What to Expect at Your First Appointment
The first appointment is typically in person with a pulmonary physician, but telehealth options are available as well. Patients will either be instructed to have imaging and breathing tests before or on the day of their first visit. Depending on the results of the initial consultation, a patient may need to be referred for a biopsy with a short-term follow-up or start therapy. Patients will also be educated on the natural history, pathogenesis and treatment of their disease. On average, first appointments are expected to last for about one hour, however this time frame may need to be extended depending on the specific characteristics of each case.

Multidisciplinary Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
For diagnosis, patients will have access to a multidisciplinary team of radiologists, pulmonologists, pathologists and rheumatologists. Often, lab work will be ordered to inform a diagnosis. A treatment plan is then developed by the care team.

Continuum of Care
After beginning treatment, each patient’s continuum of care will be personalized based on their needs. Frequent monitoring of medications and lab work can be expected.

Throughout treatment, our providers make it a priority to communicate with each patient’s referring provider to ensure continuity of care. Follow-up visits typically occur every 3 to 6 months with breathing tests and/or imaging tests as clinically indicated.

Clinical Trials

As leaders in pulmonary research, our providers participate in the development of better treatment options for patients living with interstitial lung diseases. In addition to traditional therapies, our program offers clinical trials – unique access to promising new medications, procedures and therapies.

While all patients benefit from the resulting science, patient participation in clinical trials is always voluntary.

Learn about ongoing research projects in the Sime Laboratory

Referring Patients to the Interstitial Lung Disease Program

Referrals can be made by calling our patient appointment center at (804) 828-2161. Press 4 to schedule an appointment, then press 3 for pulmonary. If you have question or want to learn more about our program, please call (804)-237-6644.

Fax: (804) 560-8992


Please visit the websites below for further information on ILD. 

We are proud to be an official Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Care Center Network Site

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) National Care Center Network logoVCU Health is part of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s (PFF) National Care Center Network. The PFF Care Center Network is a group of 74 medical centers with expertise in accurately diagnosing and treating individuals with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and interstitial lung disease (ILD).

Learn more about this designation.

Meet the Team

Apostolos Perelas, MD

Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine

Patricia J. Sime, MD

Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine

Peter Jackson, MD

Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine