Comorbidities in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: an underestimated issue

Eur Respir Rev. 2019 Oct 1;28(153):190044. doi: 10.1183/16000617.0044-2019. Print 2019 Sep 30.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and fibrosing lung disease with a poor prognosis. Between 60% and 70% of IPF patients die of IPF; the remaining causes of death may be due to comorbidities occurring in this ageing population. Interest in the role played by comorbidities in IPF has increased in the past few years. The optimal clinical management of IPF is multifaceted and not only involves antifibrotic treatment, but also vaccinations, oxygen supplementation, evaluation of nutritional status as well as psychological support and patient education. Symptom management, pulmonary rehabilitation, palliative care and treatment of comorbidities represent further areas of clinical intervention. This review analyses the major comorbidities observed in IPF, focusing on those that have the greatest impact on mortality and quality of life (QoL). The identification and treatment of comorbidities may help to improve patients' health-related QoL (i.e. sleep apnoea and depression), while some comorbidities (i.e. lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases and pulmonary hypertension) influence survival. It has been outlined that gathering comorbidities data improves the prediction of survival beyond the clinical and physiological parameters of IPF.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / epidemiology*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / mortality
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors