InterMune Know IPF Now

InterMune Know IPF Now

How is IPF diagnosed?

A patient may go to many doctors and other health specialists before receiving a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). This disease can be difficult to diagnose, because:

  • Lung fibrosis often cannot be clearly distinguished on a regular chest X-ray
  • Several other lung disorders have similar symptoms and scarring
  • IPF symptoms are nonspecific and can be similar to those of other diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure
  • Patients with IPF may also have another condition that causes shortness of breath

In most cases, IPF is diagnosed by a pulmonologist, a physician who specializes in lung and respiratory diseases. The pulmonologist conducts a complete medical history analysis and physical exam. Once IPF is suspected, a number of tests may be performed (see a list of tests below). Part of the diagnosis process is to rule out other diseases.

You may receive a diagnosis of IPF if:

  • After thorough medical exams, other causes of interstitial lung disease have been ruled out
  • AND
  • You have an HRCT (high-resolution computed tomography) scan that shows a particular pattern of damage suggestive of IPF. If the HRCT test is inconclusive, you may need to have a lung biopsy. A diagnosis is confirmed if the biopsy shows a pattern specific to IPF

How can I make a proactive plan to manage IPF?