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Pulmonary Fibrosis

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Pulmonary fibrosis is scarring (called fibrosis) in the tissue inside the lungs. It’s just one of about 200 interstitial pulmonary diseases that affect the tissue around the balloon-like structures (called air sacs) attached to the lung airways.

Scarring in pulmonary fibrosis results from damage caused by inhaled environmental pollutants, radiation treatment, certain prescription medicines, autoimmune diseases, or genetic disorders. In many cases, there is no known cause (called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).

Symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis include a chronic (ongoing) dry cough, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and weight loss. Progressive (worsening) tissue stiffness makes it hard to breathe, and lack of oxygen in the blood can lead to life-threatening conditions. Complications of pulmonary fibrosis include:

  • Heart failure: caused by the right ventricle pumping blood harder than usual to move blood to the lungs
  • Lung cancer: abnormal cell production in the lung
  • Other lung problems: infections, blood clots, or collapsed lung
  • Pulmonary hypertension: high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery
  • Respiratory failure: when not enough oxygen passes from the lungs into the blood

If you have symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis, visit a pulmonologist (lung specialist) at the University of Miami Health System. We’ll manage your symptoms, so that you can live a healthier life.

Why Choose UHealth?

Researching new and better treatments and care for pulmonary fibrosis. We’re studying medicine safety and effectiveness for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other interstitial lung diseases. You can trust you’re getting the most innovative treatments, sooner. Learn more about our clinical trials.

Advanced diagnostics and nuclear imaging. With advanced diagnostic tests and imaging and interventional radiology techniques (called bronchoscopy), we can get better results, for more accurate diagnosis. This means we can start treatment early, and even slow disease progression.

Critical care experts here for you from hospital to home. Our pulmonologists are experts in pulmonary fibrosis and offer services in the hospital and intensive care unit. We also provide follow-up outpatient (clinic) appointments in convenient South Florida locations. You get seamless care from some of the same providers who know you and understand your medical history.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Treatments

  • Medicine therapy

    Oral and injected medications can decrease inflammation, suppress an overactive immune system, and slow scarring progression. These include corticosteroids, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy drugs.

  • Oxygen therapy

    If blood oxygen levels are too low, your doctor may prescribe inhaled oxygen as needed, such as before exercise or long-term for most of the day. There are different devices available. Many are portable, meaning they’re easy to move or take with you on the go.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation

    Pulmonary rehabilitation programs involve support, education, exercise, and nutrition counseling and training to help you live better with COPD. Our programs are personalized to your needs, and focus on keeping you active and enjoying life.

  • Transplant

    If your condition is severe and doesn’t respond well to other treatments, a lung transplant may be an option.

Tests

  • Arterial blood gas (ABG)

    This test measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, using a sample taken from an artery. Results show how well your lungs work, and whether you need oxygen therapy for pulmonary fibrosis.

  • Biopsy

    A lung biopsy is a tissue sample taken from the lung and analyzed at a lab. The type of biopsy depends on your condition and may include:

    • Needle lung biopsy: performed using CT (computed tomography) imaging to guide the needle to the right place
    • Bronchoscopy biopsy: a thin, flexible tube is inserted in the mouth or nose to access the lung
    • Surgical lung biopsies: includes a minimally invasive technique called video-assisted thoracoscopy surgery (VATS) or an open thoracic (chest) procedure to remove a wedge, a lobe, or a whole lung

  • Exercise stress test

    Your doctor may order an exercise test to measure lung function before, during, and after physical activity, using a treadmill or stationary bike.

  • High-resolution computed tomography scan (HRCT)

    HRCT is a special CT (computed tomography) scan that highlights thin sections of the lungs to detect pulmonary fibrosis or other forms of in interstitial pulmonary disease.

  • Pulmonary function tests

    Pulmonary function tests measure lung functioning. They show how much air your lungs can hold, how quickly air moves in and out, and how well the carbon dioxide/oxygen gas exchange works. Methods include spirometry, or a mouthpiece attached to a machine, and plethysmography, performed in a box that looks like a phone booth.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care