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Ask Family Physician Your Own Question
Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 2418
Experience:  GP with over 27 years experience including emergency medicine
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7 years ago I was told my emphysema had reached end stage,

Customer Question

7 years ago I was told my emphysema had reached end stage, my FEV1 was then around 17%, I'm on oxygen 24/7, essentially chair-bound and bored bloody silly. How much longer do you think I may last?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 3 years ago.
from JustAnswer.

Do you have a recent spirometry of how much the FEV1 has decreased over the last 7 years?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, my consultant sees me usually every three months but really only care - my lung function remains near non-existent

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
No answer at all
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 3 years ago.
You question cannot be answered in the way that you are seeking information, so let me explain what can be said and see if that is satisfactory.

It is impossible to make a prediction of life expectancy person with COPD based solely on a single spirometry evaluation. Even knowing that a person has end stage COPD is not sufficient to make such a prediction.

The primary reason is that the progression of COPD will vary significantly from one individual to another. Even if we look at statistical averages, it is not as meaningful specific individual. If there are multiple spirometries that are done over time to show the progression of disease person, then it would be more meaningful.

In studies that look at the prognosis of severe COPD, it can be said that the average life expectancy of someone with severe COPD is shortened by about 5 years. But these same studies also show that the magnitude of the effect on life expectancy is also dependent upon what other conditions are present.

So, the best that can be said is that severe COPD will shorten life span by about 5 years on average, but the greatest impact of COPD on life expectancy is in individuals with other major health conditions.

Does this information meet your needs?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There have, of course, been multiple spirometries taken over time but that process stopped some time ago - presumably because it showed nothing more than an incurable disease remaining incurable and the effort involved in testing really gained nothing. I had hoped that a reply other than your totally obvious one might have been possible. In that sense, it obviously does not meet my needs and, certainly, I hope I'll not be charged £36 .

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 3 years ago.
That is your choice.