What Is the End Stage of Pulmonary Fibrosis?

The end stage of pulmonary fibrosis is respiratory failure, states Mayo Clinic. The damage from pulmonary fibrosis renders the lungs extremely stiff, much like an old sponge. This makes it progressively impossible to breathe, adding to the patient’s loss of appetite and fatigue.

Pulmonary fibrosis refers to the stiffening and thickening of lung tissue. The scarring and damage make it more difficult for the lungs to function correctly, according to Mayo Clinic. As the condition gets progressively severe, patients become shorter and shorter of breath. The damage from pulmonary fibrosis can stem from many different factors, but doctors often have no idea of the exact cause. It is not possible to undo the damage pulmonary fibrosis wreaks on the lungs, but therapeutic solutions and medicines can alleviate symptoms, improving overall quality of life. Some patients undergo a lung transplant to eliminate the condition.

Pulmonary fibrosis complications may also include high blood pressure inside the lungs notes Mayo Clinic. The scar tissue applies pressure to capillaries and small arteries, building resistance to the flow of blood. This elevates pressure inside the right ventricle of the heart and pulmonary arteries. Heart failure on the right side occurs when the right ventricle must pump unusually hard-to-get blood through partially blocked arteries in the lung. Another possible complication is lung cancer, as pulmonary fibrosis elevates a person’s risk over time.