Interstitial lung disease
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) refers to a group of respiratory conditions including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), sarcoidosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), asbestosis, ILD associated with rheumatologic conditions, as well as many less common conditions.
Often referred to as Pulmonary Fibrosis, ILDs cause inflammation or scarring of the lung tissue (unlike Asthma or COPD which affect the airways). ILD is not cancer or cystic fibrosis and is not contagious, and prognosis varies with the type of ILD.
Accurate and early diagnosis is essential for optimal management. Many patients require close monitoring and follow-up by a respiratory physician with a special interest in ILD and a specialist ILD nurse.
More on what we do
The Interstitial Lung Disease Service at the Royal Devon and Exeter is an NHS England regional commissioned service covering Devon, Cornwall and some of Dorset and Somerset. Your GP or local respiratory doctor will need to refer you to the service. We encourage patients attending our regional clinic to bring a family member or friend as it can be a busy day and they will be given lots of information. We hope you will meet several members of the ILD team and will provide you with contact details.
The referral is discussed in an ILD multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting which includes an expert ILD physician, ILD radiologist and ILD Nurse Specialist and when required a pathologist and/or rheumatologist. After this meeting, and if appropriate, the patient is offered a clinic appointment. We use a shared care approach, supporting local hospitals in caring for their patients and reducing the frequency of patient visits to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
In addition to support and management of their symptoms and condition, where appropriate, we offer patients clinical trials, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen assessment and lung transplant.
Treatment can vary according to the specific type of ILD and drugs include antifibrotic drugs or immunosuppressants and oxygen as well as medication to treat or palliate symptoms of breathlessness, cough etc.
Non-pharmacological (not drug) treatment is often just as important and usually we encourage the patient to exercise as much as possible and take part in a Pulmonary Rehabilitation course, join a local support group, manage their diet and overall physical and mental health.
Dr Michael Gibbons, Lead ILD Physician
Sarah Lines, ILD Clinical Nurse Specialist, is a Nurse Independent Prescriber
Jess Mandizha, ILD Nurse Specialist
Angela Thurgood, ILD Co-ordinator, collects referral information from your hospital and arranges the regional clinics
The team also includes a Physiotherapist, Clinical Physiologist, and a research team.
Where to find us
RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW
Department of Respiratory Medicine
Clinics may be face to face, via video link or telephone. It is better if we see you face to face for your first appointment. With the patient's permission, medical students and/or other health care professionals may be present in our clinics for their own learning.
- Regional Clinic (with ILD Physician, ILD Nurse and other members of the team)
- ILD Physician
- ILD Nurse (ILD annual review, ILD medication review, routine ILD follow up, oxygen assessment)
- Ambulatory oxygen assessment
Our service has close links with the ILD charities (websites listed above) and various support groups in the region. When attending clinic we provide you with up-to-date information listing these contacts and providing you with information on who to contact when.
The helplines for these charities are:
- Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis: 01223 785725
- British Lung Foundation: 03000 030 555
- Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust: 01543 442191
We are pleased that we have good links with many local respiratory services and we ensure that we copy them in to any letters sent to the GP.
Who to contact when:
- Exeter ILD phone number: medication, prescriptions and side effects for medication prescribed by ILD team and to chase yearly appointments if required
- Your local respiratory consultant secretary: for regular local follow-up
- GP: signs of a chest infection (increase in cough/breathlessness) for antibiotics and medications to treat symptoms / routine blood test appointments unless advised otherwise
Information for healthcare professionals
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For regional patients, phone 01392 403701
For local RD&E patients, phone 01392 408734