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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Prognosis for Interstitial Lung Disease



My mother was recently hospitalized with SOB on exertion and some changes in the bases of both lungs since 2007. She is extremely SOB to any exertion but oxygen saturation is fine while lying still. She has been complaining of SOB since 2006 with multiple tests that has been acceptable until this pas function test. Is there a viable treatment for this or is the prognosis poor? I guess I am just looking for honesty. Here oxygen sat is down in the 70`s with minimal movements.


There are more than 150 different interstitial lung diseases, each with its own prognosis and treatment options. Some interstitial lung diseases are more treatable than others.

The first step is to establish a confident diagnosis. This sometimes can be done just with the history, physical exam, CT scan, and laboratory tests. In other cases, it requires a bronchoscopy or lung biopsy.

In addition, there are many other conditions that can cause a low oxygen saturation with activities, including pulmonary hypertension, infection, and pulmonary embolism. Ask her physicians if other causes of hypoxemia have been excluded and then ask if a reasonably confident diagnosis has been established.

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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