emphysema


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Related to emphysema: chronic bronchitis, bronchitis, asthma

emphysema

(ĕmfĭsē`mə), pathological or physiological enlargement or overdistention of the air sacs of the lungs. A major cause of pulmonary insufficiency in chronic cigarette smokers, emphysema is a progressive disease that commonly occurs in conjunction with chronic bronchitis. It is found predominantly in people over age 45, but a genetically based early-onset form also exists. Symptoms are difficulty in breathing, cough with thick sticky sputum, and a bluish tinge of the skin. Progressive disease can result in disability, and in severe cases heart or respiratory failure and death.

Causes

Cigarette smoking is the cause of most cases of emphysema. Tobacco smoke damages the lungs' alveoli, the tiny air sacs through which inhaled oxygen is transferred to the bloodstream and carbon dioxide is passed back to the lungs to be exhaled. The lungs become less elastic and breathing becomes increasingly difficult. The genetic form of emphysema occurs earlier in life (worsened by, but not dependent upon cigarette smoking). It is caused by a rare genetic deficiency of the protein alpha1-antitrypsin. In the absence of antitrypsin, which normally functions to protect the lungs from damage, the walls of the alveoli are attacked by chemicals released in alveoli in response to tobacco smoke and air pollutants.

Treatment

Emphysematous lung damage is irreversible. Its progression can be slowed by giving up smoking. Treatment is aimed at increasing the functional capacity of the lungs and may include bronchodilators, administration of supplemental oxygen, or lung transplantation. Surgical removal of affected lung tissue (lung volume reduction surgery), aimed at allowing healthy areas of the lung room to function, is being studied for its effectiveness and safety. The genetic form is treated with supplemental antitrypsin administered by infusion or by a gene therapy technique that uses T cells (special immune cells that identify diseased or deformed cells) to deliver it to the desired cell sites.

emphysema

[‚em·fə′sē·mə]
(medicine)
A pulmonary disorder characterized by overdistention and destruction of the air spaces in the lungs.

emphysema

Pathol
1. a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are grossly enlarged, causing breathlessness and wheezing
2. the abnormal presence of air in a tissue or part
References in periodicals archive ?
Number of Products under Development for Emphysema, H2 2015
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There is a growing body of evidence that certain well-defined subgroups of patients with advanced emphysema benefit from ELVR, with the caveat that a systematic approach is followed and selection criteria are met.
Among 39 non-smokers, there wasn't a single case of emphysema.
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If you have the severe form and you smoke, there's no question about it: you get emphysema.
Two cases were identified: 1 case of pneumolabyrinth and pneumocephalus as a late complication of cochlear implantation, and 1 case of subcutaneous emphysema as an early complication of middle ear implant surgery.
In emphysema the elasticity of the lung, which allows it to fill and empty in a coordinated fashion, is gone because the architecture of the lung is totally disrupted and destroyed by inflammation of the alveolar membranes.
The AeriSeal System is a minimally invasive treatment designed to reduce lung volume and improve breathing function and symptoms in patients with advanced emphysema who no longer respond to standard medical therapy.
We look forward to being able to offer the RePneu Coil treatment for all severe emphysema patients in the near future.
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Trimble died Tuesday at his home in Indianapolis after a battle with emphysema.