Pulmonary Fibrosis Glossary | American Lung Association

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Pulmonary Fibrosis Glossary

Find definitions of common pulmonary fibrosis terminology.

A

Acute Exacerbation
A sudden worsening of pulmonary fibrosis with no known cause.

Advance Directive
A legal document that tells the doctor and family what a person wants for future medical care should the person later become unable to make decisions.

Alveoli
Tiny air sacs in the lungs where oxygen enters and carbon dioxide leaves the bloodstream.

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B

Biopsy
A procedure that involves removing tissue or cells from the body and studying them under a microscope to diagnose disease.

Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)
A medical procedure in which an instrument (bronchoscope) is passed through the mouth or nose into the lungs. Fluid is then squirted into a small part of the lung and the fluid is collected. It is then examined under a microscope for signs of disease.

Bronchoscope
A lighted, flexible tube usually inserted through the nose or mouth to look at a person's airways and lungs.

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D

Diffusing Capacity
A measure of how well oxygen reaches the bloodstream from the air, which can be an indicator of lung health.

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F

Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV) and Forced Vital Capacity (FVC)
FEV measures how much air a person can exhale during a forced breath. Forced vital capacity (FVC) is the total amount of air exhaled during the FEV test.

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G

GAP Model or GAP Risk Assessment System
A prediction tool that estimates prognosis in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It looks at factors such as gender, age, and physiology which includes lung function.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
A digestive disorder in which stomach acid travels up into the esophagus and throat. It can cause heartburn, indigestion and even injury to the esophagus. Sometimes it is painless. The acid can also cause throat irritation, post-nasal drip, hoarseness, chronic cough, chest congestion and lung inflammation. Some pulmonary fibrosis patients also have GERD.

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H

High-Resolution Computed Tomography Scan (HRCT)
A type of computed tomography (CT) that uses specific techniques to create a very detailed picture. It is commonly used to diagnose interstitial lung disease, including pulmonary fibrosis.

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I

Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonia (IIP)
A type of scarring lung disease which affects the interstitium, the layer of the lung between the alveoli and the bloodstream.

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O

Oxygen Delivery Device
A piece of equipment that allows a person to get extra oxygen. Types of devices include oxygen concentrators, liquid oxygen and compressed oxygen.

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P

Palliative Care
Care aimed at making the patient more comfortable and improving quality of life. Hospice care always includes palliative care, but palliative care can be given at any stage of a disease. Palliative care is provided by a team of specialists including palliative care doctors, nurses and social workers. Massage therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, spiritual care advisors and others may also be part of the team.

Power of Attorney
A legal document authorizing someone to act on behalf of another person in legal, financial, and/or medical matters.

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V

Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)
A type of lung surgery that typically involves one to four small incisions to access the inside of the chest. The surgeon uses a camera to visualize the lung and special instruments to perform the surgery. This can also be done with the help of a surgical robot. VATS can be used to perform many different procedures such as collecting tissue for a biopsy.

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    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed February 5, 2018.

    Page Last Updated: March 13, 2018

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