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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Geriatric emphysema and pneumonia

01/06/2009

Question:

my mother is almost 90 yrs.old she has recently been treated for pneumonia which she also had last may following a bad fall where she broke both wrists and some ribs. her pneumonia symptoms havent really gone away after 2 zpacks and doxycyclinewas gagging upon waking up in morning, she has a breathing treatment 4x a day at home now. phenergan with coedine ,claritin,she has had a problem over last year or more with mucus caught in throat and is now taking a mucus thinning drug. she has had bowel problems for many years and does enemas put on mild powdered laxitive. she has a blood pressure med and has a high cholesterol med. she takes tylenol arthritis for intense arthritis which is widespread throught,has darvocet but rarely takes it.she had a hip replacement a couple yesrs ago after a bad fall,.she has had synvsc shots in knees recently. she is always cold.she had a urinary kidney problem also thoght it might be cancer but wasnt they did several invasive ureter procedures and she takes a med for urinary frequency. She was just diagnosed today with emphysema and lung scarring after shortness of breath for last few months .she lost 7 lbs over last month or so. she had a hysterectomy in eldely years i believe a fibroid or ovarian cyst she had twelve children. she had cataract surgery also. wasnt in poor health until last several years . still has a good memoery some short term loss . has had a gallstone a while back but never removed and has recently felt stomach trouble slowed down considerably this year. what am i too expect and how long. she has had an echocardiogram but they didnt say if anything was wrong there. she has recently been put on zoloft. is a devout catholic but cant go to church or store anymore. please advise i am very concerned and know this doesnt sound good especially with the recent lung problems please advise in detail if possible what do you think her prognosis is? life expectancy.I dont want her to suffer,very stoic person

Answer:

It is not possible to provide a detailed prognosis via an Internet forum. In medically complex patients in whom the pulmonary fibrosis is only one part of the overall medical problem list, it is often useful to involve a generalist. In patients with advanced age, an internist who specializes in geriatrics can be very helpful to assist in putting all of the various pieces of the puzzle together to provide patients and families with an overall prognosis and recommendations for management.

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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