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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Post pneumonia

10/24/2008

Question:

My wife has developed 9cm bullae after having pneumonia,she is also getting fever raising up till 37.4C few time during the day ... she is being scheduled to see a specialist in two weeks timeframe. How serious that could seem and whether it requires an immediate attention?

Answer:

Bullae are "holes" in the lung that can occur from pneumonia as well as from conditions like emphysema. If bullae contains only air, then they are unlikely to be infected. If, however, there is fluid or fluid plus air in the bulla, then that fluid can be infected. Also, it is important to be sure that the abnormality seen on the x-ray is actually a bulla and not a lung abscess. Lung abscesses can often resemble bullae and are important to identify as they generally require long courses of antibiotics (as do infected bullae). Very large bullae (so called giant bullae) can sometimes be so large that they can compress other parts of the lung; when this occurs, the bullae sometimes have to be surgically removed. This procedure is called a bullectomy.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University