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Thursday, July 24, 2014
Final Stages - What to Expect
My father is at what we consiider the "final stage" of pulmonary fibrosis. We aren`t given any information of what to expect in terms of the body "shutting down". Please advise if possible. Male, 84, now at year 4 after diagnosis and on oxygen at highest level.
In patients with highly advanced pulmonary fibrosis, it eventually gets too difficult to do simple tasks like bathing or dressing. Often patients will get increasingly sleepy as the oxygen level falls and the carbon dioxide level rises. Eventually, patients may sleep most or all of the day. Frequently death comes not from the pulmonary fibrosis but instead from lung infections (pneumonia) that can occur in patients with severe fibrosis. Hospice can be very helpful in the final stages of terminal pulmonary fibrosis.
James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University