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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

My father is 66 and has emphysema

03/04/2009

Question:

I was wanting to Know if you can give me a time frame for my father.He is 66 Years old and has had this for over 15 years.For over a week now he has been back and forth into a semi coma.He will not eat or drink.He talks out of his head about things and people who are not there.Then Yesterday he woke up and talked normal and continues to do the same thing again .he will be out and then get a burst of energy and then get restless.we were told he only had 10% of his lung function about a month and a half ago and now they say he has hardly any breath sounds.I just need to know what to expect. Thank you.

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your question. Some information is available on prognosis in COPD patients, but the information is limited. About one-third of people with chronic respiratory failure will not survive for two years from the time it is first recognized. When patients become sick enough to need admission to the hospital, mortality rates are higher.

Your description is one of chronic respiratory failure and delirium. A physician with complete knowledge of your father's care could provide some information about how much time he has, but it is impossible to say with any certainty.

For people who have been dealing with COPD for some time, it is a good idea to have discussed end of life wishes with family members and their doctors. These discussions should include the need for life supporting treatments and implications of those decisions. Hospice care may be an option to discuss.

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University