Skip to content

This information was reviewed and approved by Jeffrey James Swigris, DO, MS (9/1/2017).

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. 

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.