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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Testing for Pulmonary Fibrosis

11/19/2010

Question:

So my husband’s aunt just died of pulmonary fibrosis, she was in her early 50`s, my husband’s mother died of it five and half years ago and my husband’s uncle died of it about three years ago.

I guess I want to know what we can do as far a testing to see if my husband will develop the disease, because out of all of my husband’s aunts and uncles, there are 5 of them, three are dead and one is sick with the disease, leaving only one member of that generation not sick at this time. Is this case more likely genetic or environmental?

Answer:

There is no specific test for pulmonary fibrosis at this time, except for physical examination, high resolution CT scans, and pulmonary function tests. 

Your husband should find a pulmonary (lung) physician who is an expert in this disease and follow closely. There is a wealth of research, and in the near future we may have some biomarkers and treatments that are effective. Let us know if you need referrals or suggestions about whom to see in your area.

It is not clear whether pulmonary fibrosis is genetic (although there are rare families with pulmonary fibrosis) or environmental, although cigarette smoking is associated with the disease.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Clay B Marsh, MD Clay B Marsh, MD
Vice Dean of Medicine Administration
Professor of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Professor of Veterinary Biosciences
Associate Vice President of Health Sciences Research Administration
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University