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Pulmonary Fibrosis

In the late stages

09/12/2006

Question:

in the late stages of pulmonary fibrosis .got inflamation of the body and effecting heart can u tell me if there is a time scale as to how long the condition will take to be controled with medication or is it too late for treatment

Answer:

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. However, the speed that it worsens varies from person to person, so that it is not always possible to predict how long one has to live with it.

As a general rule, if the disease gets to the point that a patient is needing oxygen, then a lung transplant can be considered.  However, most transplant centers will use an age cut-off such as 65 years or so.

The studies of treatment of pulmonary fibrosis seem to indicate that the earlier treatment is started, the more likely treatment will work. We often use PFTs (pulmonary function tests) to determine whether the disease is "early stage" or "late stage". Treatment is less likely to work if the disease is in late stage.

You should ask your pulmonologist where you stand with respect to your pulmonary function tests and then weigh the risks of side effects of treatment with the probability that the treatment will actually work when deciding whether to be treated with medications or not.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University