The life expectancy of an individual with emphysema is impossible to determine due to a lack of large studies that have examined the impact of the illness on lifespan, according to WebMD. Generally, people with higher stages of emphysema have lower long-term life expectancies.
Statistics currently exist from studies that have attempted to compare the disease effect on life expectancy; however, these studies included only a small sample of patients, explains WebMD. The results are further unreliable because the disease varies so widely between two people at the same stage. An individual's emphysema staging is helpful in determining the severity of the disease, but it is not a conclusive predictor of life expectancy.