The case notes of 200 patients with cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis, from three regions in the United Kingdom, were reviewed, in order to determine how physicians manage this uncommon condition. In the majority of cases (119), the diagnosis was based solely on clinical grounds, with no attempt at histological confirmation of the diagnosis. Transbronchial biopsy was attempted in 66 patients, but was unhelpful in confirming a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis in 30% of these patients. Thirty five patients underwent bronchoalveolar lavage, and 15 had an open lung biopsy. Of the 132 patients treated, 110 received prednisolone alone, and the rest a combination of other immunosuppressive agents. The doses and duration of therapy varied considerably. These results suggest that, in the late 1980s, there were wide variations of practice in the management of cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis in the United Kingdom. This is likely to reflect a paucity of information on the optimum management of this uncommon condition.