Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: Diagnosis and staging
Congresses as Topic
Lung Diseases, Interstitial
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S.)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) progresses slowly over months to years, with deteriorating lung function; during the later phases, patients are oxygen-dependent. Symptoms (such as cough and dyspnea) are often mistakenly attributed to bronchitis, 'walking pneumonia,' heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Because the manifestations of IPF overlap with numerous other interstitial lung diseases, lung biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis. High-resolution CT scans are better than conventional chest films in identifying IPF and assessing the extent and nature of the disease. When extensive honeycombing or reticulation and minimal ground-glass opacities are seen on imaging, supportive therapy is appropriate; however, when ground-glass opacities - which may regress - are present, aggressive therapy is warranted.