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Forum Name: Miscellaneous Chest Diseases

Question: Pulmonary Fibrosis - Can We Save Our Dad?


 Vicky-2 - Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:07 pm

Dear all,

My father-in-law, who is 79 years old and is just a month away from his 80th birthday, was hospitalized a week before Christmas because of shortness of breath. Though initially pneumonia was suspected, his X-rays and CT scans revealed scarring on one of his lungs (at least that's what we were told at that time). In a week he left home with oxygen-generating equipment and was told he would have to use it indefinitely.

He was feeling good for a while, though last Friday I noticed that his skin was kind of yellowish and that he did not look that healthy. Me and my husband left for a short vacation and returned home yesterday to learn that our dad was hospitalized again on the New Year night! Same shortness of breath, pronounced yellowish colour, heart beat irregular. What we know so far (and we don't have an official diagnosis, though the word 'fibrosis' was used by a doctor) is that is lungs are in trouble, that there is liver damage (we don't know why) and there is some infection going on. He is receiving antibiotics, IV and they are going to check out his gallbladder as well.

My father-in-law had arthritis for years, and he did not receive any treatment for it. We know that his lung problems can be a result of that. He used to be a strong man - a retired officer and a former football player, though when I met him, he was pretty thin. Now his weight loss is especially pronounced.

We are aware of the fact that even if his current status improves (that is liver issues and infection are addressed), the diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis is very bad. But I told my husband that we should do whatever we possibly can to save the life of our dad. Just three weeks ago he was an energetic individual with alert mind and generally healthy (other than his arthritis and a sore on his limb which was hard to heal, but eventually did heal). He did take some medications, but I am not sure what exactly.

I would appreciate very much your professional advice on this matter and thank in advance for your help.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:44 pm

User avatar I apologize for the delay in answering your questions. You are facing a very difficult situation. There are several causes of pulmonary fibrosis. Depending on the cause, there are some treatments, but the scarring is often relatively permanent. Adding the liver issue makes it more difficult as many medications are processed by the liver.

Unfortunately, I don't have any great advice for you. I recommend you stay in contact with your father-in-law's doctor to discuss his condition and possible treatments.

Sorry I can't be of more help. Best wishes.

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