Background: Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE) is increasingly recognized, but its prevalence and prognosis remain unclear. We sought to determine the prevalence, clinical features, and prognosis of CPFE in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), using a standardized and reproducible definition.
Methods: Patients with IPF were identified from two ongoing cohorts. Two radiologists scored emphysema and fibrosis severity on high-resolution CT (HRCT) scans. CPFE was defined as ≥10% emphysema on HRCT scan. Clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with CPFE and IPF and those with non-CPFE IPF were compared with unadjusted analysis and then analysis after adjustment for HRCT fibrosis score. Mortality was compared using competing risks regression to handle lung transplantation. Sensitivity analyses were performed using Cox proportional hazards, including time to death (transplantation censored) and time to death or transplant.
Results: CPFE criteria were met in 29 of 365 patients with IPF (8%), with high agreement between radiologists (κ=0.74). Patients with CPFE had less fibrosis on HRCT scans and higher FVC, but greater oxygen requirements (P≤.01 for all comparisons). Findings were maintained with adjustment for fibrosis severity. Inhaled therapies for COPD were used by 53% of patients with CPFE. There was no significant difference in mortality comparing patients with CPFE and IPF to those with non-CPFE IPF (hazard ratio, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.61-2.13; P=.69).
Conclusions: CPFE was identified in 8% of patients with IPF and is a distinct, clinical phenotype with potential therapies that remain underutilized. Patients with CPFE and IPF and those with non-CPFE IPF have similar mortality.