Overview of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and evidence-based guidelines

Roozbeh Sharif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive form of interstitial lung disease (ILD), characterized by fibrosis and worsening lung function, that primarily occurs in those 50 years and older. Various causes including genetic susceptibility, environmental risk factors, and exposures have been suggested in the literature. All of these cause repetitive micro-injury to the lung tissue and vasculature, which triggers a cascade of inflammatory response and fibrosis. Symptoms are nonspecific and most patients present several years after the initial radiographic changes occur. Diagnosis requires a high index of clinical suspicion supported by distinct radiographic and/or histopathologic findings. Median survival is estimated at between 2 and 3 years after diagnosis. Other than lung transplantation, no treatment has shown survival benefit. Two most recently approved medications for IPF, pirfenidone and nintedanib, can slow disease progression. Most patients have several comorbid conditions that can affect the course of their disease, including gastroesophageal reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea, cardiomyopathy, and pulmonary hypertension. Observational studies suggested possible benefits in transplant-free survival and patients' outcomes with these medications. In addition to the new treatment options and optimal management of the comorbidities in patients with IPF, pulmonary rehabilitation remains a critical part of management and has been shown to improve quality of life and functional level. Considering the complexity of the diagnosis and management, the American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society published a joint statement on diagnosis and treatment of IPF. This article provides an overview of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and guideline-recommended approaches for the diagnosis and management of IPF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S176-S182
JournalThe American journal of managed care
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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