What is the average life expectancy for someone with emphysema?


Quick Answer

The most extensive studies on emphysema life expectancy are based on just a few hundred people, so statistical indications for an individual's prognosis are not reliable, explains WebMD. The severity of emphysema is measured in stages, and life expectancy varies depending on a patient's stage.

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Full Answer

More than 80 percent of patients with mild stage emphysema survive beyond four years, notes WebMD. The four year survival rate for people with moderate stage emphysema is 60 to 70 percent. Half of the people with severe stage emphysema are alive after four years. Life expectancy varies widely among patients with emphysema, and even individuals with the same test results and staging indications experience different outcomes. The chances of living a year or longer are over 90 percent even among people who have the most severe emphysema.

The two methods of measuring the severity of emphysema are called the BODE and the GOLD systems, explains WebMD. The GOLD system focuses on a patient's breathing capacity and measures the amount of air someone exhales in one second. The BODE index looks at how emphysema affects a patient's exercise capacity, body mass index, breathlessness and airflow limitation. The results of a BODE screening offer a better prediction of an emphysema patient's outcome.

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