Mortality From Pulmonary Fibrosis Increased in the United States From 1992 to 2003

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Aug 1;176(3):277-84. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200701-044OC. Epub 2007 May 3.


Rationale: From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, studies found that mortality rates for pulmonary fibrosis were increasing. Recent data for mortality from pulmonary fibrosis are unavailable.

Objectives: We sought to determine mortality rates for pulmonary fibrosis in the United States from 1992 through 2003.

Methods: Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, we calculated age-adjusted mortality rates from the deaths of persons with pulmonary fibrosis and stratified the data to determine differences in mortality rates by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and geography of the decedent. We developed a multivariable model to predict future mortality rates, and we determined the underlying cause of death in patients with pulmonary fibrosis.

Measurements and main results: From 1992 to 2003, there were 28,176,224 deaths in the United States and 175,088 decedents with pulmonary fibrosis. The average age- and sex-adjusted mortality rate was 50.8 per 1,000,000 people. The age-adjusted mortality rate increased 28.4% in men (from 40.2 deaths per 1,000,000 in 1992 to 61.9 deaths per 1,000,000 in 2003) and 41.3% in women (from 39.0 deaths per 1,000,000 in 1992 to 55.1 deaths per 1,000,000 in 2003). While increases were significant in both men and women (p < 0.0001), the rate of increase was higher in women (p < 0.0001). The most common cause of death in patients with pulmonary fibrosis was the disease itself.

Conclusions: From 1992 to 2003, mortality rates for pulmonary fibrosis significantly increased. Further investigation is needed to determine the etiology of these trends, which are predicted to continue to increase.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology