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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

What does mild emphysematous changes mean?

07/27/2009

Question:

I recently had a second ct of my chest done due to some nodules that was spotted a few months ago. I just got a copy of the results and do not understand a few things on it. The nodules have been resolved but they say that there are mild emphysematous changes and minimal dependent atelectasis present. I would like to know what this means and I have somked for more then 30yrs and am wondering if it is too late for me to quit?

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your question. Only a health professional performing a thorough clinical exam is able to evaluate your symptoms and discuss your case specifically. 

Mild emphysematous changes mean that you have developed damage to your lungs from smoking. Tobacco smoke causes damage to the small air sacs in the lungs by destroying the walls of these tiny air spaces. When the air spaces are destroyed and become bigger, the term used to describe the change is emphysema. 

It is never too late to quit smoking and based on your description of this being mild, you should quit smoking as soon as possible. I would encourage you to speak with your physician about these results further and about help in tobacco cessation.

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University