Though common, the exact incidence and clinical pattern of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in Gulf countries are not known. The results of a four-year prospective study undertaken in two tertiary hospitals in Kuwait are presented. The mean age at diagnosis of the 52 patients studied was 55.40 +/- 11.87 years. Thirty-two (61.5%) patients were male and 22 (42.3%) were smokers. The mean duration of symptoms at diagnosis was 2.1 +/- 0.92 years. Digital clubbing was found in 34 (65%) patients. The mean FVC, TLC and TLCO were 57%, 64.4% and 55% of predicted normal, respectively. The FVC value showed a significant difference between smokers and non-smokers (p < 0.05). HRCT findings were abnormal in all patients. Typical histological and high-resolution computed tomography findings of usual interstitial pneumonia, desquamative interstitial pneumonia and non-specific interstitial pneumonia were observed. This study revealed that IPF is prevalent in Kuwait, with patterns showing some similarities to those established elsewhere. The response to treatment was not encouraging, especially in the usual interstitial pneumonia subtype.