Patient Background

The prototypical patient with IPF is a 68-year-old white male. We know from modern databases that this is the average age of a patient presenting with IPF. 50-70% of patients are former smokers, as is this patient. They frequently present with shortness of breath with exertion rather than at rest, and the result is that they see their primary care doctor for the shortness of breath after spending some months to years assuming that it was just age-related rather than illness.

The first thing the primary care physician will do is a cardiac work-up, which is highly appropriate since half the population will end up with cardiac disease, which can present as shortness of breath with exertion. Patients will then progress to a chest x-ray and often a CT scan for further evaluation.