Physician delivers Pulmonary Fibrosis presentation at city hospital

PHOTO PROVIDED Pictured are Kevin F. Gibson, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, left, and Raj Patel, M.D., president of the medical staff, UPMC Susquehanna Lock Haven.

LOCK HAVEN — Members of the UPMC Susquehanna Lock Haven medical staff participated in a presentation by Kevin F. Gibson, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine entitled; Incorporating New Advances and the Latest Science to Improve Recognition and Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Symptoms

In the presentation, Dr. Gibson outlined the presenting symptoms, noting that in many patients, symptoms are present for a considerable time before diagnosis, include the following:

r Age over 50 years

r Dry, non-productive cough on exertion

r Progressive shortness of breath with exercise

r A dry crackling sound in the lungs during inhale, similar to Velcro being torn apart slowly

r Clubbing of fingers and toes, a disfigurement of the finger tips or toes

r Abnormal pulmonary function test results, for how well your lungs are functioning

Treatment

Dr. Gibson explained that the focus of treatment is on the quality of the patient’s life and often treatment involves other health issues including; stomach and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heart disease. Gibson also outlined treatments involving oxygen therapy, pulmonary therapy and a pair of new drug treatment options, that does not cure the disease, but slows the rate of decline seen in patients. He went on to explain some of the adverse side effects that patient experience while on the drug therapies.

While lung transplants are an option, Dr. Gibson stated that less than 15 percent of pulmonary fibrosis patients actually receive the transplants before succumbing to the illness.

“Patients may have symptoms and go undiagnosed for pulmonary fibrosis, for quite some time,” said Raj Patel, M.D., president of the medical staff, UPMC Susquehanna Lock Haven. “Dr. Gibson offered some excellent insight into new science to help with the diagnosis, as well as how to discuss the treatment options available to patients.”

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