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Pulmonary Fibrosis

IPF - how advanced/what to expect

06/09/2009

Question:

My father inlaw was diagnosed with IPF after lung biopsy. He presneted with continued coughing up blood, shortness of breath. I`m told his lung CT scans before surgery showed scarring / shadows over about 1/3 of one lung, 1/2 of the other. He is short of breath sitting in the car and can only walk about 100 feet - has to stop to catch his breath multiple times. He had begun to have neuropathy from diabetes before surgery, gets dizzy frequently, is on coumadin for an articial aortic valve - he is age 71. We expect he is pretty advanced at this point and are preparing to have him come stay with us soon. Any idea of prognosis & what to expect? More or less than a year?

Answer:

The prognosis of IPF depends on both the current lung function (measured by pulmonary function studies and by the blood oxygen level) and the speed of deterioration in the lung capacity. The chest x-ray is helpful but probably does not give as much information as the pulmonary function studies and the oxygen level.

In patients with both IPF and heart disease, it can be very difficult to determine whether shortness of breath and other symptoms are due to the IPF or the heart. As a general rule, the life expectancy of IPF is about 3-5 years from the time of diagnosis. However, if patients are diagnosed relatively late in the course of the disease, the life expectancy can be considerably less.

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