Esophageal Dilatation and Interstitial Lung Disease in Systemic Sclerosis: a longitudinal study

  • Hinchcliff, Monique E (PD/PI)
  • Agrawal, Rishi (Other)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Current and Future Research Interests. Since starting residency, my intent has consistently been to pursue an academic career in rheumatology. My previous rheumatology related research has involved teaching knee arthrocentesis technique and the musculoskeletal exam to internal medicine residents. Drawn initially to the field due to the complexity of the clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatments, my elective rotations and research endeavors so far have solidified my goal of pursuing a fellowship in rheumatology. Within the field, I have gravitated toward systemic sclerosis (SSc) research because its protean disease manifestations intrigue me. I sought Dr. Monique Hinchcliff as a mentor due to her successful track record of mentoring and my genuine interest in patient factors that influence SSc interstitial lung disease (ILD) onset and progression. My current interests surround the impact of esophageal dilatation measured on high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans of the lungs and ILD in patients with SSc. During my career, I plan to pursue clinical research focusing on identifying predictive patient factors that will permit timely treatment for patients suffering with rheumatic diseases. Aims of Proposed Project. The purpose of this longitudinal study is to determine the association between esophageal dilatation and the incidence and progression of ILD as determined by HRCT scans of the chest and pulmonary function tests. We hypothesize that a wider esophageal diameter is associated with greater esophageal dysfunction and aspiration of gastric contents that contributes to ILD incidence in those SSc patients without ILD at the time of their initial chest HRCT and to ILD progression in those with ILD at their initial chest HRCT. If so, evidence of esophageal dilatation on HRCT may be used to risk-stratify patients for ILD development and progression. HRCT of the chest is routinely ordered on patients with SSc and widest esophageal diameter measurements are easily obtained during these studies. Therefore, esophageal dilatation could potentially be used clinically as an ILD disease marker. Determining incident development of ILD will provide important insight into risk factors leading to new SSc-ILD, while evaluating the progression of SSc-ILD will shed light on its natural history.
Effective start/end date2/26/168/25/18


  • Rheumatology Research Foundation (Agreement 3/3/16)


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