Pulmonary Fibrosis Prognosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is one of nearly 200 chronic lung conditions that are characterized by inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue, which progressively cause breathing difficulties because the lungs are unable to expand and contract normally. The most common form of the disease is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

All forms of pulmonary fibrosis are progressive and life-threatening, and the prognosis is poor with a median survival of 2.5 to 3.5 years after diagnosis. Respiratory failure is the most common cause of death in pulmonary fibrosis patients but early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve survival. 

Factors affecting prognosis

Three main factors that affect the prognosis of pulmonary fibrosis are: 

  • Early diagnosis: The severity of pulmonary fibrosis at diagnosis is directly correlated with survival rates. Early diagnosis is associated with better survival.
  • Proper treatment: While anti-fibrotic treatments may not cure the disease, they can significantly slow its progression and hence improve prognosis.
  • Rate of lung function decline: The progression of pulmonary fibrosis is not constant. In some patients, the disease may progress slowly and then suddenly accelerate and result in respiratory failure. Therefore, disease progression needs to be monitored constantly, which can improve prognosis. 

Clinical factors that adversely affect prognosis 

Clinical factors associated with poor prognosis are:


Last updated: Oct. 6, 2019


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