Age may not predict mortality in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), according to research published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease and described in Pulmonary Fibrosis News.

To answer the question of whether older patients have worse prospects of recovery, researchers analyzed data from 1,663 people studied by the Korean Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Research Group. That study, which evaluated the clinical, physiological, and radiological aspects of IPF patients, grouped patients according to age: younger than 60 (309), 60 to 69 (613), and 70 and older (741).

The patients were evaluated based on several parameters, including gender; smoking history; other health conditions (including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and lung cancer); predicted forced vital capacity (FVC, a measure of lung function); predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1); and predicted total lung capacity (TLC) at initial diagnosis.

Results showed several variables — such as older age (70 or older), diagnosis without surgical lung biopsy, lung cancer, and low initial FVC (less than 60%) — were poor prognostic factors.