The first step in diagnosing IPF is a thorough evaluation. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can be diagnosed only after ruling out other lung diseases.
When the diagnosis of IPF is suspected, your doctor may have you do a number of tests. These may include:
- A complete medical history
- A complete physical examination
- Chest imaging, including a chest X-ray and high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scan
- Pulmonary function tests
- Arterial blood gas
- Exercise test and/or an assessment of blood oxygen levels during exertion
- Blood tests looking for hints at the cause of the lung disease
- Bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage
- Surgical lung biopsy
Your doctor may order other tests based on your history and physical exam.
You and your health care provider may choose to have you seen by a specialist, such as a pulmonologist (lung specialist) to confirm a diagnosis and treat your IPF once it’s diagnosed.