The aim of the study was to evaluate the quality of life and its changes in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), waiting for lung transplantation. Sixteen IPF patients, who qualified for lung transplantation, and 14 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients on long term oxygen therapy, taken as a reference group, were assessed. The quality of life was estimated twice, using an SF-36-questionnaire, at the time of qualification for lung transplantation and 12 months later. The IPF and reference patients had similarly profound disturbances in lung function and arterial blood gas content. The IPF patients had a statistically greater score in their physical functioning (PF; 45 vs. 18), the role of limitations due to physical problems (RP; 43 vs. 11), social functioning (SF; 58 vs. 30), and the role of emotional limitations in everyday life (RE; 65 vs. 12) than the reference ones. After a year's observation, there were no differences in SF-36 questionnaire results, except for the role of limitations due to physical problems (RP). A correlation was noted between spirometry and blood gas results and SF-36 questionnaire results in IPF patients qualified for lung transplantation. There was a positive correlation between the partial pressure of oxygen (PaO(2)), on one side, and mental and general health, on the other. There also were positive correlations between FEV1 and SF and FEV1 and the level of bodily pain (BP). We conclude that the SF-36 questionnaire is a sensitive tool to assess the quality of life in IPF patients qualified for lung transplantation. The information gained can help assess the severity of the disease, clinical symptoms, and functional impairment in these patients.