When a person is diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis (PF), they may also go through additional tests so doctors can determine the stage of the disease. Staging of pulmonary fibrosis is important to establish the optimal treatment plan and to offer the patient an accurate prognosis.
The treatment and prognosis will depend on how advanced the patient’s pulmonary fibrosis is. This is usually determined by a forced vital capacity (FVC) test using a spirometry device. Patients are instructed to breathe in and then exhale into the device for as long as possible. The spirometry measures how much air a person can expel from their lungs.
An FVC test result of more than 75 percent is regarded as mild PF, 50 percent to 75 percent is moderate PF, 25 percent to 49 percent is severe PF, and less than 25 percent is considered very severe PF.
The current system is not without its limitations. Researchers are working on newer techniques to better stage pulmonary fibrosis so patients can receive the best care possible.
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