Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema as a clinicoradiologic entity: Characterization of presenting lung fibrosis and implications for survival

Mohammad Alsumrain, Federica De Giacomi, Faria Nasim, Chi Wan Koo, Brian Jack Bartholmai, David L. Levin, Teng Moua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence of classifiable and unclassifiable causes of lung fibrosis and its implications for survival are mostly unknown in combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE). Materials and methods: Patients with >10% involvement of both emphysema and lung fibrosis seen over 11 years at our institution were reviewed independently by expert radiologists for fibrotic and emphysematous findings and overall fibrotic CT pattern. Underlying interstitial lung disease (ILD) diagnoses and baseline demographic and clinical characteristics were collated and assessed for predictors of comparative survival. Results: In this retrospective cohort, 179 CPFE patients were identified and categorized as 58 usual interstitial pneumonia/idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (UIP/IPF) (32%), 42 secondary ILD (23%), and 79 unclassifiable ILD (44%). The most prevalent (47%) radiologic pattern was ‘unclassifiable’ followed by ‘consistent’ and ‘possible’ UIP pattern in 38%. Adjusted predictors of mortality for the cohort as a whole included age (HR 1.03[1.01–1.06], P = 0.002), percent predicted diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (unit HR 0.97 [0.96–0.99], P = 0.001), honeycombing (HR 1.58 [1.02–2.43], P = 0.04), and right ventricular dysfunction (HR 2.28 [1.39–3.97], P = 0.002). Survival was similar between CPFE with secondary ILD and CPFE with UIP/IPF, while CPFE with unclassifiable ILD had better comparative survival (Log rank = 0.026). Conclusions: Our findings suggest only about a third of CPFE patients represent suspected UIP/IPF; the majority were clinically and radiologically unclassifiable ILD whose survival was comparatively better. Identifiable or secondary causes of lung fibrosis in CPFE occurred in about a fifth of presenting patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema
  • CPFE
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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