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Pulmonary Fibrosis

What to expect

10/10/2008

Question:

My mom suffered a severe stroke in 2005 and had surgery for a blod clot in her legs in 2007. she has gastric paresis, chronic blader infections and has had c dif. She now has copd, emphseyma, and fibrosis in her lungs. she is on continous oxygen( 2-3liters). She can not do the treatment for the fibrosis to her history of infections. knowing she won`t get better - is this considered end stage fibrosis and what can we expect

Answer:

Fibrosis means scarring in the lung and can result from many diseases. Some of these diseases can be very serious and even fatal whereas others can result in scarring of the lung that does not continue to get worse. Given all of the other medical problems, it is difficult to know which one is mainly responsible for her symptoms.

The first step is to find out what type of fibrosis she has (for example: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, fibrosis due to previous pneumonia, fibrosis due to aspiration, etc.). Also, you should ask her physician which of her several diseases are primarily responsible for her breathing problems (fibrosis, pneumonia, emphysema, etc.).

If she has "idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis" and her physician believes that to be the main cause of her breathing problems, then she would fall into an advanced stage category of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Perhaps the most important thing to do is to be sure that there is no treatable cause for her lung condition; in patients with previous stroke and with gastroparesis, aspiration (when food, liquids, or stomach contents go "down the wrong way" into the lung) is one of the most important conditions to identify since it can be treated or at least prevented.

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