National Jewish Health pulmonologist Dr. Jeffrey Swigris describes the various tests used in diagnosing and managing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Depending whether a patient is coming from out of state or locally, they can expect a number of tests to be performed while they’re here, a high resolution CT scan, first and foremost.
Supine, so when a patient is laying on his or her back as well as prone images, images taken with the patient laying on the stomach, are really important to get a good view of the backs of the lungs.
Breathing tests, of course, will be conducted.
Transthoracic echocardiogram or ultrasound test of the heart gives us a good idea of the heart function and size and we can even get an estimate of the blood pressure inside the lungs using the heart ultrasound.
Other tests might include an assessment of whether acid or non-acidic reflux, gastro-oesophageal reflux is present.
And because sleep apnea is so common in this population, we often conduct sleep studies while the patients are here.
In addition, to help rule out other causes of pulmonary fibrosis, a large battery of blood tests is commonly drawn.
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