Cyclophosphamide for interstitial lung disease-associated acute respiratory failure: mortality, clinical response and radiological characteristics

Johanna P. van Gemert*, Inge A. H. van den Berk, Esther J. Nossent, Leo M. A. Heunks, Rene E. Jonkers, Alexander P. Vlaar, Peter I. Bonta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Treatment for interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) is challenging, and literature to guide such treatment is scarce. The reported in-hospital mortality rates of ILD patients with ARF are high (62–66%). Cyclophosphamide is considered a second-line treatment in steroid-refractory ILD-associated ARF. The first aim of this study was to evaluate the in-hospital mortality in patients with ILD-associated ARF treated with cyclophosphamide. The second aim was to compare computed tomographic (CT) patterns and physiological and ventilator parameters between survivors and non-survivors. Methods: Retrospective analysis of patients with ILD-associated ARF treated with cyclophosphamide between February 2016 and October 2017. Patients were categorized into three subgroups: connective tissue disease (CTD)-associated ILD, other ILD or vasculitis. In-hospital mortality was evaluated in the whole cohort and in these subgroups. Clinical response was determined using physiological and ventilator parameters: Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Score (SOFA), PaO2/FiO2 (P/F) ratio and dynamic compliance (Cdyn) before and after cyclophosphamide treatment. The following CT features were quantified: ground-glass opacification (GGO) proportion, reticulation proportion, overall extent of parenchymal disease and fibrosis coarseness score. Results: Fifteen patients were included. The overall in-hospital mortality rate was 40%. In-hospital mortality rates for CTD-associated ILD, other ILD and vasculitis were 20, 57, and 33%, respectively. The GGO proportion (71% vs 45%) was higher in non-survivors. There were no significant differences in the SOFA score, P/F ratio or Cdyn between survivors and non-survivors. However, in survivors the P/F ratio increased from 129 to 220 mmHg and Cdyn from 75 to 92 mL/cmH2O 3 days after cyclophosphamide treatment. In non-survivors the P/F ratio hardly changed (113–114 mmHg) and Cdyn even decreased (27–20 mL/cmH2O). Conclusion: In this study, we found a mortality rate of 40% in patients treated with cyclophosphamide for ILD-associated ARF. Connective tissue disease-associated ILD and vasculitis were associated with a lower risk of death. In non-survivors, the CT GGO proportion was significantly higher. The P/F ratio and Cdyn in survivors increased after 3 days of cyclophosphamide treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number249
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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