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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Our mother has pulmonary fibrosis

12/27/2007

Question:

Our mother has been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. She`s had sarcoidosis of the lungs for 15 yrs...prednisones back then stabilized her situation. In May of this yr. she began to be short of breath, as well, she had developed broncholitis...where she was admitted to the hospital. Once again, she was administered dosages of prednisone, but this time it was not working, and she was getting very bad side effects. After a cat scan and nuclear die injections, she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis...the specialists here Windsor Ontario Canada have told us they cannot do anything else at the moment....she is only to continue with the oxygen...is there no other medications to try?....only prednisone?....We would like a second evaluation at this point and are looking for a specialist in the Michigan area.

My mother is 74 yrs old and was just diagnosed yesterday eventhough she`s been feeling short of breath is May of this yr.

If you have any information, please let us know....we would greatly appreciate it.

Answer:

There are many causes of pulmonary fibrosis, and long-standing sarcoidosis can result in permanent scarring (pulmonary fibrosis). The first step is to determine the cause of the pulmonary fibrosis.

If your mother has active sarcoidosis, then there are other medications that can be used to treat the lungs such as methotrexate and azathioprine. If she has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, then treatments are less likely to help. Unfortunately, once scar gets into the lung for any reason, it is not possible to remove it with medications.

Usually, a pulmonologist would be the type of specialist to take care of this kind of problem. In the United States, the State Medical Board for each state keeps a list of the different specialists in each community. Often, a patient's primary care physician can be the best starting point for a referral to a local pulmonologist.

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