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Pulmonary Fibrosis

How bad is my husband`s pulmonary fibrosis?

06/02/2008

Question:

He has RA, Polymyositis, and now his cat scan showed bibasilar fibrosis and pleural thickening along with an enlarged heart. He has trouble walking to the bathroom; so out of breath; always falls asleep, confusion, dry cough and his legs feel so weak under him. He feels he is dying. How much time do you think he has?

Answer:

Rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, and other rheumatologic diseases can cause a number of different lung diseases including interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary emboli (blood clots), and infections related to medications used to treat the underlying autoimmune disease. Falling asleep and confusion can also be a sign of possible sleep apnea.

It is not possible to estimate life expectancy, especially until the precise cause of the lung symptoms has been identified. It would be a good idea to discuss with his physician if sleep apnea, infection, blood clots, and pulmonary hypertension have been evaluated for.

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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