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Pulmonary Fibrosis

My Friend`s Fibrosis...

11/30/2009

Question:

Hi,

My friend seems to have started to get fibrosis several years ago. In the last one year, I noticed he coughed a lot, almost every time he finished talking, he would cough. It was never diagonosed though until about one and half month ago he just almost collapsed and be rushed to ICU. Then known that he was diagnosed with fibrosis. His condition is getting worst in just this one month. From can walk, now he is pratically living from life support, which injecting 70% O2 supply directly to his lung and being put in un-consciousness to calm him down.

My questions are:

1. Is it possible that fibrosis patient getting worst in such a quick time - considering he may have that sympton quite long (at least 2 years before)? Or may it be caused by some other factors?

2. Doctor said it is because he also gets infection in his lung. But he has been given the most strong medicine such steroid for 3 weeks and the infection is not getting better, and may even worst. Is it an indication that his fibrosis is already too bad, that medicine would no longer affect too much?

3. Currently he is being treated in Siloam Hospital, Singapore. Watching his lung worsening, I suspect that he may not last 1 week from now. Is it possible if his doctor to email you or phone call you for consulting? Or if you could give your email, can Iemail the result of his test?

Many thanks in advanced.

Best regards.

Answer:

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide phone or email patient consultation.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can progress quite rapidly on occasion. The average life expectancy with this condition is 3-5 years, but some patients can have a much faster course.
 
It is important to be sure that there are no other conditions that can contribute to rapid progression including infection (pneumonia), pulmonary emboli (blood clots) and heart failure. On occasion, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can transiently improve with steroid medications but when patients have very advanced disease, steroids frequently do not help.

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