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Mortality from pulmonary fibrosis increased in the United States from 1992 to 2003.

RATIONALE: From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, studies found that mortality rates for pulmonary fibrosis were increasing. Recent data for mortality from pulmonary fibrosis are unavailable.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine mortality rates for pulmonary fibrosis in the United States from 1992 through 2003.

METHODS: Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, we calculated age-adjusted mortality rates from the deaths of persons with pulmonary fibrosis and stratified the data to determine differences in mortality rates by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and geography of the decedent. We developed a multivariable model to predict future mortality rates, and we determined the underlying cause of death in patients with pulmonary fibrosis.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: From 1992 to 2003, there were 28,176,224 deaths in the United States and 175,088 decedents with pulmonary fibrosis. The average age- and sex-adjusted mortality rate was 50.8 per 1,000,000 people. The age-adjusted mortality rate increased 28.4% in men (from 40.2 deaths per 1,000,000 in 1992 to 61.9 deaths per 1,000,000 in 2003) and 41.3% in women (from 39.0 deaths per 1,000,000 in 1992 to 55.1 deaths per 1,000,000 in 2003). While increases were significant in both men and women (p < 0.0001), the rate of increase was higher in women (p < 0.0001). The most common cause of death in patients with pulmonary fibrosis was the disease itself.

CONCLUSIONS: From 1992 to 2003, mortality rates for pulmonary fibrosis significantly increased. Further investigation is needed to determine the etiology of these trends, which are predicted to continue to increase.

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