Pulmonary Function Test:
Spirometry reveals a reduction in the vital capacity (VC) with a proportionate reduction in airflows or increased airflows for the observe vital capacity.
The latter findings reflects the increased lung stiffness (reduced lung compliance) associated with pulmonary fibrosis, which leads to increased lung elastic recoil.
Measurement of static lung volumes using body plethysmography or other techniques typically reveals reduced lung volumes (restrictions). This reflects the difficulty encountered in inflating the Fibrotic lungs.
The diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) is invariably reduced in IPF and may be only abnormality in mild or early disease.
Its impairment underlies the propensity of patients with IPF to exhibit oxygen desaturation with exercise which can also be evaluated using the 6 minutes’ walk test (6 MWT).
Terms such as mild moderate, severe are used for staging diseases and are commonly based on resting pulmonary function test ‘measurements’. There is no clear consensus regarding the staging of IPF patients and what are the best criteria and values to use.
Mild to moderate IPF has been characterized by the following functional criteria:
– Forced vital capacity (FVC) of ≥ 50%
– DTOC of ≥ 30%
– 6 MWT distance ≥ 150 meters
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