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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Jan;143(1):182-5.

Prognosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in patients with mucous hypersecretion.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


In order to determine the prognosis of patients with chronic idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), we evaluated clinical, laboratory, and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) data at the onset of IPF in 25 patients who survived beyond 1 yr (nine women and 16 men, 59 +/- 3 yr of age, mean +/- SE). When the patients were divided into two groups according to whether they had or did not have mucous hypersecretion, 11 patients with hypersecretion (Group A) had a poorer survival rate (6 yr) than did 14 patients without hypersecretion (Group B) (10 yr) (p less than 0.01). Further, there was a significant negative correlation between sputum volume and the duration of survival in 25 patients (r = -0.55, p less than 0.01). Before glucocorticoid treatment, we also found significantly larger numbers of neutrophils (17%) and eosinophils (5%) in differential cell counts of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) in Group A than in Group B (neutrophils, 1%; eosinophils, 0.6%) (p less than 0.05 each). Chest radiographic findings and other laboratory data including pulmonary function tests did not correlate with the survival rate. These findings suggest that mucous hypersecretion as well as neutrophils and eosinophils in BALF are among the determinants of prognosis in patients with chronic IPF.

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