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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Final stages



How long does a person usually last in the final stage of pulmonary fibrosis? My grandmother had been diagnosed with this disease about 5 years ago and was informed that her pulmonary fibrosis is in the final stage.

Thanks, A concerned Granddaughter


Survival varies a great deal, and it is usually not possible to predict within weeks or months. As a general rule, the average survival is about 5 years from the onset of symptoms and 3-4 years from the time of diagnosis, but there is considerable variability. Frequently, patients with advanced pulmonary fibrosis have a second, new medical problem that ultimately causes death (for example, pneumonia).

It is important that your grandmother have as good of quality of life in the time that she has left. Things that can help include oxygen, opiates for severe shortness of breath (for example, morphine), a wheelchair to help get around, and re-configuration of her living space to minimize the need for stairs, etc. Hospice or home nursing can be particularly helpful, also.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University