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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Emphysema?

04/29/2008

Question:

i am a 32 year old female in good health. i have been experiencing shortness of breath that has gotten worse over the last year. i had asthma as a child and it did bother me during my second pregnancy which was over 9 years ago and not since. i am tired all the time even after resting. i have done a spirometry that the fvc was more than the fev1. the rv on my lung volumes was 156. this is air trapping correct? my dlco was also below normal. could this be emphysema?

Answer:

We do not have enough information to say if you have emphysema or not. Air trapping (increased RV) or obstruction (decreased FEV1) is a characteristic of both emphysema and asthma. FEV1 usually falls more than the FVC as the lung becomes obstructed. RV is the most consistently abnormal of all the lung volumes in asthmatic patients, and it is the last to return to normal following treatment. An RV value greater than approximately 150 percent of predicted is required before it is considered abnormal. The DLCO is frequently low in emphysema, but generally not in asthma. I would suggest further or continued evaluation of your shortness of breath.

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Response by:

Gretchen   Whitby, APRN Gretchen Whitby, APRN
Nurse Practitioner of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Phillip T Diaz, MD Phillip T Diaz, MD
Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University