Older Age May Not Influence Survival Odds of IPF Patients, Study Says

Joana Fernandes, PhD avatar

by Joana Fernandes, PhD |

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Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and age

The prognosis for older idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients was the same as that of younger ones in a recent study assessing relative survival rates, suggesting age might not be a factor.

Results of the study, “Relationship Between Survival And Age In Patients With Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis,” were published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease.

Studies have shown that old age might be linked to a worse prognosis for IPF patients. Several methods have been used to predict patient outcomes, but a conclusive one has not been determined.

To answer the question of whether older patients have worse prospects of recovery, researchers analyzed data from 1,663 people studied by the Korean Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Research Group. That study, which evaluated the clinical, physiological, and radiological aspects of IPF patients, grouped patients according to age: younger than 60 (309), 60 to 69 (613), and 70 and older (741).

The patients were evaluated based on several parameters, including gender; smoking history; other health conditions (including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and lung cancer); predicted forced vital capacity (FVC, a measure of lung function); predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1); and predicted total lung capacity (TLC) at initial diagnosis.

Results showed several variables — such as older age (70 or older), diagnosis without surgical lung biopsy, lung cancer, and low initial FVC (less than 60%) — were poor prognostic factors.

The observed survival rate of those older than 70 year was significantly lower than the patients in the other groups. However, researchers found that, after five years, the relative survival rate among older patients and that of those younger than 60 was the same (56.8%).

Relative survival compares the rate between individuals of the same age with and without the disease.

“(T)he observed survival rate of patients with IPF above 70 years of age was significantly lower than that of patients less than 60 years of age,” researchers wrote. “Relative survival rate of patients with IPF aged above 70 years was not different from that of patients aged less than 60 years. These findings suggest that age may not affect survival in Korean patients with IPF. Further large, prospective studies with a well-organized registry will be needed to assess relative survival in patients with IPF.”