Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

COPD Health Center

Font Size

Emphysema: Stages and Prognosis

Emphysema Life Expectancy and Emphysema Statistics continued...

In other words, available emphysema statistics aren't reliable for individual people seeking their emphysema life expectancy.

That said, the higher a person's emphysema staging is, the lower their long-term life expectancy. The GOLD and BODE emphysema staging systems provide slightly different information, summarized as follows:

  • More than 80% of people with mild emphysema are alive after four years.
  • 60% to 70% of people with moderate emphysema are alive after four years.
  • Among people with severe emphysema (FEV1< 35% normal), about 50% are alive after four years.
  • People with the worst possible emphysema symptoms (such as inability to walk through the house and severe weight loss) have the shortest emphysema life expectancy.

Remember that emphysema life expectancy varies widely, even between people with the same pulmonary function tests and BODE index scores. Even with the most severe emphysema, the odds of surviving one year are higher than 90%. Your primary doctor or pulmonologist can provide more detailed information.

By far, the most important determinant of emphysema prognosis and emphysema life expectancy is whether someone continues smoking. Quitting smoking is the single most important treatment to improve emphysema life expectancy.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on June 20, 2012

Today on WebMD

chest x-ray
SLIDESHOW
Lung Disease Health Check
HEALTH CHECK
 
man smoking cigarette
Article
man with inhaler
Quiz
 
Bronchitis Overview
Article
Senior woman blowing dandelion
ARTICLE
 
Living With Copd
VIDEO
human lung graphic
Article
 
Energy Boosting Foods
Slideshow
lung cancer overview slideshow
Article
 
mature man coughing
Article
Senior couple stretching
Slideshow