Respiratory problems are common and can be serious in patients who have a connective tissue or autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. With an autoimmune disease, a person’s own immune system attacks the lungs, causing inflammation and scarring that can impair lung function and breathing. Rheumatoid arthritis may lead to a group of lung conditions categorized as rheumatoid lung disease. These include shortness of breath or dyspnea caused when the lung lining gets inflamed and filled with fluid (pleural effusion). Common lung problems for people with connective tissue disease are interstitial lung disease (ILD), including pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary sarcoidosis, and pulmonary hypertension. Patients with autoimmune disease may also present with bronchiectasis and lung nodules.
Board-certified pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Lung Center provide specialized medical and surgical services for immunologic and autoimmune lung diseases. They collaborate with a multidisciplinary team that crosses many specialties: rheumatology, radiology, pathology and pulmonary rehabilitation. Together with our diagnostic microbiology and rheumatology laboratories, we provide patients with accurate diagnosis and comprehensive disease treatment and management.
The Lung Center is located at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) at the 15 Francis Street entrance. Thoracic surgery, pulmonary and critical care medicine and thoracic imaging are adjacent to one another, making accessibility and appointment scheduling seamless.