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Vanderbilt Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Center

Evaluation and Diagnosis

Diagnosing IPF is similar to working a puzzle.  In order to gain a correct diagnosis, all of the pieces of the puzzle should fit.  At our center, IPF is diagnosed using the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Consensus Guidelines.  A thorough review of the personal medical history is completed, in addition to a physical examination.  Diagnostic testing may include laboratory tests, pulmonary function tests, echocardiogram, hi-resolution CT scans of the chest, and possibly bronchoscopy or surgical lung biopsy.  Of course, many problems can cause shortness of breath, including heart disease, obesity, deconditioning, anemia, and pulmonary hypertension.  These are considered and ruled out during the course of evaluation. 

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