A 68-year-old recently retired male hairstylist with presumed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presents with increasing dyspnoea and a persistent dry cough. Do his symptoms represent an exacerbation of COPD or some other condition?
- Spirometry is required for a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), requires a multidisciplinary approach.
- IPF is an irreversible and progressive form of interstitial lung disease, with no known cause, that is associated with a poor prognosis.
- Antifibrotic therapies (pirfenidone and nintedanib) significantly slow disease progression by about 50% in patients with mild-to-moderate IPF.
- Early diagnosis of IPF is important so that antifibrotic therapy can be offered early to best preserve lung function.
- Supportive care is important in the management of patients with IPF and should be considered early, irrespective of antifibrotic therapy.