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Epidemiology of organising pneumonia in Iceland
  1. G Gudmundsson1,
  2. O Sveinsson1,
  3. H J Isaksson2,
  4. S Jonsson1,
  5. H Frodadottir1,
  6. T Aspelund3
  1. 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Allergy and Sleep, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland
  2. 2Department of Pathology, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland
  3. 3The Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr G Gudmundsson
    Department of Respiratory Medicine, Allergy and Sleep, Landspitali University Hospital, E-7 Fossvogur, IS-108 Reykjavik, Iceland; ggudmund{at}


Background: Cryptogenic organising pneumonia (COP) has also been called idiopathic bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia. In secondary organising pneumonia (SOP) the causes can be identified or it occurs in a characteristic clinical context. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence and epidemiological features of COP and SOP nationwide in Iceland over an extended period.

Methods: A retrospective study of organising pneumonia (OP) in Iceland over 20 years was conducted and the epidemiology and survival were studied. All pathological reports of patients diagnosed with or suspected of having COP or SOP in the period 1984–2003 were identified and the pathology samples were re-evaluated using strict diagnostic criteria.

Results: After re-evaluation, 104 patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for OP (58 COP and 46 SOP). The mean annual incidence of OP was 1.97/100 000 population (1.10/100 000 for COP and 0.87/100 000 for SOP). The mean age at diagnosis was 67 years with a wide age range. The most common causes of death were lung diseases other than OP, and only one patient died from OP. Patients with OP had a lower rate of survival than the general population, but there was no statistical difference between COP and SOP.

Conclusions: The incidence of OP is higher than previously reported, suggesting that OP needs to be considered as a diagnosis more often than has been done in the past.

  • COP, cryptogenic organising pneumonia
  • ILD, interstitial lung disease
  • OP, organising pneumonia
  • SOP, secondary organising pneumonia
  • idiopathic interstitial pneumonia
  • organizing pneumonia
  • bronchiolitis obliterans
  • incidence
  • prognosis

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  • Published Online First 29 June 2006

  • This study was funded by Landspitali University Hospital Scientific Fund, Icelandic Thoracic Society Research Fund, and Oddur Olafsson Memorial Fund in Iceland.

  • Competing interests: none declared.