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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Dizziness

09/19/2007

Question:

MY 85 YEAR OLD MOTHER HAS PULOMARY FIBROSIS AND IS ONLY ON OXYGEN TREATMENT. SHE WAS DIAGNOSED ABOUT 2 1/2 YEARS AGO. SHE DOES NOT USE THE OXYGEN AS INSTRUCTED AND CAN BARELY WALK 2O FEET BEFORE HAVING TO STOP. SHE IS NOW COMPLAINING THAT SHE CANNOT GET WARM AND IS HAVING DIZZY SPELLS AND IS BECOMING QUITE FORGETFUL. IS THIS A CONDITION OF THIS DISEASE? SECOND, WHAT SHE IS DOING TO HERSELF AND HER PROGNOSIS BY NOT USING HER OXYGEN AS SHE SHOULD. I HAVE BEEN TOLD SHE USES IT DURING SLEEP MOST NIGHTS.

Answer:

Dizziness can be due to many things, including a low blood oxygen level. A test that is useful to determine the oxygen flow rate necessary to keep the oxygen in the blood at sufficient levels is an "oxygen titration study". We try to keep the oxygen level above 89% by using supplemental oxygen, although in patients with end-stage pulmonary fibrosis, this may not always be possible. Other strategies can include using a disability parking placard for her car so she does not have to walk far distances and using a motorized scooter or wheelchair so she does not have to exert herself walking.

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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