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Lung diseases

Decreased Percentage of Lungs

02/15/2011

Question:

my husband (64) has enphyzema due to smoking and inhaling spray painting cars over a long period of time. he was informed today that his lung capasity has dropped with 13% (to only 64%) since he last was seen by the specialist which was 4 months ago. he is using a nebulizer twice a day at this point. at what pecentage will he become critical and will have to rely on oxygen.

Answer:

I generally recommend that one not make any conclusions from a single lung capacity test. It is best to use information over a few years of observation before making any conclusions about how fast one is losing lung capacity. Furthermore, there are variations in measurement that are reversible as well (such as a recent cold, etc.) and that can inappropriately suggest rapid changes that are not permanent. This is something you might best discuss with your specialist as well. 

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Response by:

Mark D Wewers, MD Mark D Wewers, MD
Professor of Pulmonology, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Environmental Health Sciences
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University