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Combined Pulmonary Fibrosis and Emphysema Alters Physiology but Has Similar Mortality to Pulmonary Fibrosis Without Emphysema

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Studies have described individuals with combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE), with preserved lung volumes, significant reductions in gas exchange, and high prevalence of pulmonary hypertension. While physiologic changes in CPFE are well documented, there is little mortality data in the CPFE population compared to appropriate controls. A study was performed to determine the features and outcomes of a group of individuals with imaging and/or pathologic evidence of CPFE to determine if individuals with combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema have different features and survival than individuals with pulmonary fibrosis alone. We conducted a retrospective study at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Included in the study were individuals hospitalized over a 5-year period who were given a clinical diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis. Individuals with confirmed imaging or pathologic evidence of pulmonary fibrosis were divided into a study group with concomitant emphysema (CPFE group, n = 20) and a control group without emphysema (isolated pulmonary fibrosis (PF) group, n = 24). The CPFE group, all current or former cigarette smokers, had significantly larger lung volumes, more expiratory airflow obstruction, and worse gas exchange than the isolated pulmonary fibrosis group. Mortality did not differ between the groups. Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema results in unique physiologic features but no difference in survival compared with a group with pulmonary fibrosis alone.

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This publication is the result of work supported with resources and facilities from the Providence VA Medical Center and was supported in part by HL 64936 from the National Heart Lung Blood Institute.

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Correspondence to Matthew D. Jankowich.

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Jankowich, M.D., Rounds, S. Combined Pulmonary Fibrosis and Emphysema Alters Physiology but Has Similar Mortality to Pulmonary Fibrosis Without Emphysema. Lung 188, 365–373 (2010).

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