COVID-19 & Pulmonary Fibrosis/Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Are people with PF or IPF more likely to be impacted by COVID-19? 

People with Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) or Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) are not more likely to contract the virus. However, anyone with a respiratory illness such as PF and IPF, is at higher risk of experiencing more severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory failure.

Is it safe to travel for routine clinic visits? 

The risk of traveling for clinic appointments depends upon the risk of being exposed to  COVID-19 in your area. Follow provincial and federal government guidelines and restrictions. 

Before an upcoming clinic appointment, call the clinic to discuss your specific situation and determine if there is a need to come. For routine follow up appointments, rescheduling may be appropriate/necessary at this time. During the pandemic, many clinics are closed and patients are meeting with their physicians through virtual clinics by phone or computer using programs like Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. Ask your clinic if this is available and appropriate for you.

Should I continue traveling to my pulmonary rehabilitation appointments? 

During the pandemic, all pulmonary rehabilitation clinics will be closed. 

Home exercise programs may be developed in discussion with your pulmonary rehab center and physician during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several online resources are available to assist patients with exercise training. Discuss the use of these tools with your physician prior to initiating a home program.

Is it safe to have a pulmonary function test (PFT) or spirometry during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

All PFT testing is suspended during the COVID-19 infection unless it is deemed important to a patient’s care. Pulmonary function tests generate an aerosol, which  increases the risk of transmitting the virus.

I am enrolled in a clinical trial. Should I continue going to study appointments? 

If you are enrolled in a current trial, contact your trial center for information about any changes in visits. In order to avoid the risk of infection, appointments may need to be rescheduled. Ensuring your safety and limiting your potential exposure to the virus is the most important consideration.  

Can COVID-19 lead to pulmonary fibrosis (PF) or Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)? 

At this time, there can be no conclusions made about the long term consequences to lung health due to a COVID-19 infection leading to PF or IPF. 

Remember social/physical distancing does not mean social isolation. Stay connected with family, friends and the community by phone, email, text, Facebook, Facetime, Skype and Zoom. Organize a family or community check-in.

Where do I find up-to-date information about COVID-19? 

NATIONAL - Canadian Government   

ALBERTA - Alberta Health Services , Alberta Government

Page Last Updated: 03/04/2020