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Iowa readers may be interested to learn that Veracyte recently expanded an early access program that uses the Envisia Genomic Classifier test to screen patients for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. The test is currently offered in 20 medical centers in 12 states, but it should be available nationwide sometime in 2019.

IPF and other interstitial lung diseases, or ILDs, are difficult and expensive to diagnose. A recent study by the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation discovered that 55 percent of patients with IPF or other ILDs are misdiagnosed one or more times. Further, these misdiagnoses often lead to treatment delays or improper treatments. For instance, around 20 percent of IPF patients have been prescribed systemic cortisol, which can produce harmful side effects in IPF patients.

However, medical experts believe that the Envisia Genomic Classifier test could help doctors detect IPF without resorting to surgery, reduce the risk of misdiagnosis and improve patient outcomes. It works by analyzing genomic samples of lung tissue obtained through a bronchoscopy, which is a nonsurgical procedure. It can differentiate between IPF and other ILDs with 88 percent specificity and 70 percent sensitivity. It can also identify known patterns commonly present in interstitial pneumonia, which is information doctors require to make an IPF diagnosis. When used together with CT imaging, the test should help doctors more quickly identify IPF cases and order the appropriate treatments. This will help improve patient care.

A doctor’s failure to diagnose IPF and other medical conditions can have serious consequences for patients, including a worsened medical condition and unnecessary medical treatments. Patients who experience misdiagnosis may have a strong medical malpractice case. An attorney may be able to review a patient’s medical record and determine if a doctor failed to deliver the standard of care. If so, legal counsel may recommend filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover damages.