Background: A better capacity to identify patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) at risk of acute exacerbation (AEIPF) might improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
Aims: We critically appraised the available evidence of the differences in clinical, respiratory, and biochemical parameters between AEIPF and IPF patients with stable disease (SIPF) by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus were reviewed up until August 1, 2022, for studies reporting differences in clinical, respiratory, and biochemical parameters (including investigational biomarkers) between AEIPF and SIPF patients. The Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist was used to assess the risk of bias.
Results: Twenty-nine cross-sectional studies published between 2010 and 2022 were identified (all with a low risk of bias). Of the 32 meta-analysed parameters, significant differences were observed between groups, assessed through standard mean differences or relative ratios, with age, forced vital capacity, vital capacity, carbon monoxide diffusion capacity, total lung capacity, oxygen partial pressure, alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient, P/F ratio, 6 min walk test distance, C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, white blood cell count, albumin, Krebs von den Lungen 6, surfactant protein D, high mobility group box 1 protein, and interleukin-1β, 6, and 8.
Conclusions: We identified significant differences between AEIPF and SIPF patients in age and specific parameters of respiratory function, inflammation, and epithelial lung damage. Prospective studies are warranted to determine the capacity of these parameters to predict AEIPF more accurately (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42022356640).
- Acute exacerbation
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
- Patient characteristics
- Respiratory function