Banner: About IPF

How is IPF diagnosed?

IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) can be hard to diagnose because it causes the same kind of symptoms as some other lung diseases.1 A medical history, physical examination and test results all help the doctors to make a diagnosis.

To put together a medical history a doctor will want to find out about whether you have ever smoked, your work, your family medical history, drug use, etc..1 A physical examination will give the doctor a better understanding of your lung health, but a number of tests will need to be carried out to make a good diagnosis. These diagnostic tests are shown below.

Patient guide

Backgrounder: About IPF


Backgrounder: About IPF

Diagnostic tests for IPF2

What is lung auscultation?

Comic Clip: What is lung auscultation?

What are lung function tests?

Comic Clip: What are lung function tests?

Why is IPF so difficult to diagnose?

Why is IPF so difficult to diagnose?


  1. Raghu G, et al. An official ATS/ERS/JRS/ALAT statement: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: evidence-based guidelines for diagnosis and management. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2011;183:788–824.
  2. Wells AU, et al. Interstitial lung disease guideline. Thorax 2008;63:v1–v58.

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