Sjögren patients often experience pulmonary symptoms, highlighting the need for a nuanced approach to caring for these individuals, according to new guidelines in the journal Chest.
For this patient population, the multidisciplinary team might include a rheumatologist, primary care physician, pulmonologist, pathologist, radiologist, and, when necessary, an oncologist.
Pulmonary disease is often underdiagnosed in patients with Sjögren syndrome. Approximately 10% to 20% of patients with Sjögren syndrome present with pulmonary involvement, which can result in higher mortality rates and lower quality of life. Because up to 65% of patients with asymptomatic Sjögren syndrome will have abnormal pulmonary imaging, pulmonologists can play a significant role in the diagnosis of Sjögren syndrome as well as address any potential pulmonary complications.
“Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis, management, and treatment of pulmonary manifestations of Sjögren’s were developed by the Sjögren’s Foundation after identifying a critical need for early diagnosis and improved quality and consistency of care,” the guideline authors note.