Understanding the Stages of Pulmonary Fibrosis

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.

MORE: Eight of the most common lung diseases in women. 

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.

MORE: Using a spirometry device to determine the severity of pulmonary fibrosis.

Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. I wish we had this to read much soon. My husband’s doctor never really told us what stage he was in, but he must have been close to severe when he was first diagnosed. When we first saw sympthoms we sought medical attemtion and was first told pneumonia, then 2 weeks later bronchitus, and another 2 weeks later pneumonia, but was advised to get a lung scan, which we did. Then he was scheduled for a bronchoscopy & diagnosed with IPF. He took Esbriet, but had trouble breathing from the first. No breathing rehab in our area that we could find and little advice from doctors. Mike died on Valentine’s day 2017 after a miserable year. I miss him terribly, but I am glad he’s finally at peace.

    • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

      So sorry to hear that, Alice. It is a terrible feeling to lose someone you love and feeling helpless about the whole situation. Know that you are not in this alone and yes, he is definitely at peace, free from all pain. 🙂

    • Betty Lintern says:

      Very sorry to hear of your loss Alice – I was diagnosed in April 2016 – my specialist is “keeping me under observation ” and my GP knows “basically nothing ” about my illness – feeling so alone with this insidious disease !!!

  2. Joe Bailey says:

    I used to blow a 14 into the tube when I was working and a fire fighter in the plant where I worked. It changed suddenly after a year. I couldn’t get it to 7. Thus no SCBA for me…Now I’m slowly losing me capacity to breath. At idle ,I’m fine but as soon as I eat; it drops to very little capacity…The say, after a pulmonary test that I have moderate illiactic(sp?) lung disease…I’ve breathed in a lot of junk while working.Nitric/sulphuric fumes; car exhaust; chlorine gas; triclorethyolene solvent…you name it; I’ve breathed it in…quit smoking 30 years ago…Going for more tests. Why just after I eat, even small amounts, does it get so bad…I’m a little overweight but not a lot. It’s the ability to walk after I eat that’s bad…can’t walk 50 feet…without gasping…

  3. Patricia A Harkins says:

    My husband worked as a printer since 1982. He ran the printing press and was subjected to the fumes from the ink used in printing the advertisements. For 16 years prior to retiring he worked at the local newspaper printing the inserts. His press was in the basement, He was instructed to close his door because the fumes were irritating the employees upstairs. He was diagnosed with IPF in May of 2015. I told the doctors about his experience with the fumes, however, they do not connect it to the IPF. Has anyone experienced this situation or had exposure to printing fumes and diagnosed with IPF> Thank you for any advice you can offer.

    • Julie Miller says:

      Hi Patricia
      My Father was diagnosed 6 yrs and is currently at home under Palliative care have took bad in Feb with Heart failure and since his IPF has now worsened and he is basically just waiting. and needs 24/7 care he worked in the print industry as a printers assistant for over 30 years. Not sure I can give any advice but the dust and fibres must have contributed to his condition.


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