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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Prognosis

11/10/2008

Question:

I would like to know what the general life expectency is with Pulmonary Fibrosis and when do you know if your at the end stages?

Answer:

There is not an exact life expectancy with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. On average, patients live for 3-5 years after the diagnosis but it is important to realize that this is merely an average: some patients can live much longer and others shorter.

IPF does not usually slowly decline but rather frequently declines in "stair steps" with episodes of sudden deterioration, often followed by periods of relative stability.

Features that correlate with a shorter life expectancy are the need for supplemental oxygen and changes in pulmonary function tests and 6-minute walk tests over time. We consider IPF to be in advanced stages once the diffusing capacity falls below 35% of predicted and when the vital capacity falls below 50% of predicted.

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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