Weight loss is a significant risk factor for mortality in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), researchers reported in Scientific Reports.

IPF is characterized by the progressive loss of lung function. Studies have demonstrated that it carries a poor prognosis and it is often fatal. Hence, it is important to understand prognostic factors for disease progression, such as smoking, advanced age, decline in forced vital capacity, and other comorbidities. 

Studies have suggested that patients with IPF who have a lower body mass index (BMI) or experience weight loss may have poorer outcomes. A recent study investigating the relationship between BMI and interstitial lung disease suggests that reductions in weight and BMI can independently predict 1-year mortality. 

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Studies have also highlighted how malnutrition and decreased food intake can be associated with poorer IPF outcomes. The authors of the present study, therefore, decided to investigate whether changes in body weight were associated with worse outcomes in patients with IPF.

Read more about IPF etiology

The research team analyzed 215 patients with IPF and categorized them into the “maintained weight” group (weight gain or loss <5%/year) or the “reduced weight” group (weight loss ≥5%/year). Out of the 215 patients, 54 (25%) were classified in the “reduced weight” group; the others were part of the “maintained weight” group.

The study revealed that patients in the “maintained weight” group had a significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality than patients who experienced significant weight loss during treatment. 

“In this study, approximately 25% of the IPF patients on pirfenidone treatment experienced significant weight loss of 5% or more per year, and these patients had a poor prognosis,” the authors of the study wrote. “Efforts to prevent weight loss may also be necessary.”


Kim TH, Shin YY, Kim HJ, et al. Impact of body weight change on clinical outcomes in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis receiving pirfenidoneSci Rep. 2022;12(1):17397. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-22449-w