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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis
Can you tell me the prognosis of an 84 year old women with Intersitital Pulmonary Fibrosis; she is on oxygen 24/7; what can we expect as it reaches end stage.
The term pulmonary fibrosis is used for many conditions but usually refers to a condition known as usual interstitial pneumonitis. This is a very serious and usually fatal condition without transplantation. Most transplant centers will not do transplantation beyond age 65. The average life expectancy from the time of diagnosis is 3-5 years. By the time patients require oxygen around the clock, they are usually in a fairly advanced stage.
If shortness of breath is present throughout the day despite oxygen, hospice can sometimes be helpful to help control uncomfortable breathlessness. However, there are a number of interventions that can help optimize quality of life including portable liquid oxygen and a motorized scooter to improve mobility.
James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University