The clinical course of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is chronic, but some patients with IPF have phases of accelerated deterioration superimposed on the chronic course of their illness, which is referred to as acute exacerbation (Aex) of IPF. To evaluate the clinical feature of Aex of IPF, we analyzed clinical findings of the 112 patients with IPF admitted to our hospital from 1994 to 2004. Of the 112 patients 56 with IPF died during the observation period due to Aex (42.9%), lung cancer (21.4%), chronic respiratory failure (14.3%), and lower respiratory infections (8.9%). Aex of IPF was seen 28 of 112 patients with IPF (25.0%) and 24 patients (85.7%) died with Aex. The median survival time (MST) after the onset of Aex was 0.9 months. The 5-yr survival rate of all patients with IPF was 38.3% and the MST was 3.1 yrs after diagnosis. On the other hand, the 5-yr survival rate and MST was 10.7% and 0.6 yrs in patients with Aex of IPF. We treated the patients with Aex with methylprednisolone pulse therapy in combination with cyclophosphamide or cyclosporine A, which did not significantly improve the outcome of Aex. In conclusion, there is little evidence that currently accepted treatments are effective in Aex of IPF, and further studies are needed to clarify the pathogenesis and contribute to the prevention of Aex.