Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a scarring of the lung tissue that causes permanent damage to the lungs. As the scar tissue builds up and thickens, it prevents the lungs from transferring oxygen to the blood supply and diminishes the supply of healthy, oxygen-infused blood to the heart, brain, and other organs. The reduced lung function makes it increasingly hard to breathe. While the condition may develop slowly over time, many die within the first three to four years following diagnosis. There is no cure for pulmonary fibrosis, but certain medicines and therapies can help manage the disease, and some people may be candidates for lung transplants.

There are many known contributing factors to pulmonary fibrosis, but determining the exact cause of the scarring can be challenging. For cases in which a cause cannot be linked to the disease, it's referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease include a diagnosis of emphysema, a history of smoking, radiation treatments to the chest area, and exposure to harmful pollutants. As a person ages, the risk for building up scar tissue on the lungs also increases, and some cases are thought to have a possible genetic link.

Why UAB

UAB Pulmonary Services is ranked among the best programs of its kind in the nation, and our physicians are consistently listed among the Best Doctors in America for respiratory disease. Most UAB Pulmonary Services doctors are triple board-certified in internal medicine, critical care, and pulmonary medicine. They serve on national boards and specialty organizations, speak at national conferences, publish in scientific and medical journals, and help conduct research that is recognized nationally and internationally. Our physicians are continually seeking new ways to treat lung disease and improve the techniques and care for transplant patients while contributing to the body of knowledge about lung disease. We have the only nationally accredited Sleep Medicine Fellowship Training Program in the state of Alabama.

Many UAB Pulmonary Services physicians carry out research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to gain a better understanding of lung disease and its treatments or help turn new discoveries into therapies. Our physicians have served as presidents of many national societies, including the American College of Chest Physicians, the Association of Subspecialty Professors, and the Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors. The excellence of our clinical and research programs has been recognized with our membership in the NIH-funded COPD and IPF Clinical Research networks (COPDnet and IPFnet, respectively), as well as the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Research Network and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Therapeutics Development Network.

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Clinical Trials

UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials