Mortality Rate Due to IPF Has Risen in United Kingdom, Data Show

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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The mortality rate due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) increased from 1979 to 2016 in the United Kingdom, a retrospective analysis shows.

Researchers estimate that death due to IPF is close to 7% annually among respiratory diseases, pointing to approximately 5,500 people dying from the disease in the U.K. each year.

These findings highlight the need to continue to invest in strategies to halt disease development, and early diagnosis.

The study, “The Mortality Burden of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in the United Kingdom” was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Previous studies have shown that the incidence of IPF is rising in the U.K. and in the United States. To assess the impact of IPF burden in terms of mortality, researchers at University of Nottingham, U.K., analyzed death certificates in England and Wales from 1979 to 2016, and identified those due to what they called IPF clinical syndrome (IPF-CS).

During the 37-year period, researchers registered 82,702 deaths attributed to IPF-CS.

After adjusting for age and sex, the annual increase in the number of IPF-CS deaths was approximately 5%. Of note, the increase in annual mortality rates was highest among men and people age 85 and older.

“We found a marked increase in IPF-CS deaths from 2010 onwards, with IPF-CS mortality in 2016 being 51% higher than 2010,” the researchers said.

From 1979 to 2000, there were 12,989 deaths from post-inflammatory fibrosis, and 16,989 deaths from idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis, two different codes used by the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 for death from IPF-CS.

The ICD, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a classification system for identifying health trends and statistics around the world, and is the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions.

During this period, mortality rates due to post-inflammatory fibrosis and idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis also increased with the years, after adjusting for age — an increase of 4.4% for post-inflammatory fibrosis, and 6.3% for idiopathic fibrosing alveolitis. The death rates were also highest in men and the elderly.

Overall, “based on these findings, we estimate that approximately 5,500 people die from IPF-CS in the U.K. each year,” researchers said, adding that “IPF-CS now accounts for almost 7% of all respiratory deaths in the U.K., and carries the same mortality burden as liver, bladder, and intracranial malignancies.”

According to the team, “despite increasing research investment, [IPF-CS] remains an important cause of respiratory mortality, and a growing public health problem.”