Pulmonary Emphysema

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Emphysema, Pulmonary


the name for various pathological conditions characterized by an excessive amount of air in the lungs.

Pulmonary emphysema may be congenital or acquired, localized or diffuse, and acute or chronic. In humans, it is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme α1-antitrypsin. Acute acquired emphysema is caused by acute bronchial obstruction, as in bronchial asthma. Chronic diffuse emphysema often develops as a complication of chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, and other diseases of the bronchopulmonary system as a result of bronchial obstruction. Exhaling requires increased pressure within the alveoli, which leads to compression of small bronchi, entry of air into collapsed alveoli through the interstitial pores, and merging of the alveoli.

The disease also decreases the elasticity of pulmonary tissue. The volume of the lungs increases, the alveolar septa become attenuated, and the capillaries break down. Patients suffer from a cough, sometimes with sputum, as well as shortness of breath and difficulty in exhaling. The chest is barrel-shaped, and the intercostal spaces are flattened. Characteristic body changes are revealed by percussion and auscultation of the lungs, X-ray examinations, electrocardiograms, and the determination of the lung capacity and other parameters of external respiratory function. Progressive emphysema gives rise to cor pulmonale and pulmonary and cardiac insufficiency.

Treatment depends on the main process in the lungs. It includes the use of antispasmodics, expectorants, oxygen therapy, antibiotics, sulfanilamides, and corrective exercise. Prevention requires the prompt treatment of chronic respiratory diseases, especially chronic bronchitis.


Mukharliamov, N. M. Legochnoe serdtse. Moscow, 1973.
Malova, M. N. Emfizema legkikh. Moscow, 1975.
Acute pulmonary emphysema also occurs in animals, for example, horses, oxen, and draft dogs after strenuous work. It also occurs as a result of constriction of the lumen of the respiratory pathways or bronchi, or extensive inflammation of the lungs. Treatment includes the administration of sedatives, expectorants, and disinfectants. Chronic pulmonary emphysema develops from acute pulmonary emphysema or some disease associated with severe coughing. It is incurable.
References in periodicals archive ?
Association of CYP2A6 deletion polymorphism with smoking habit and development of pulmonary emphysema," Thorax, vol.
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Martinez-Carrasco, "Early Diagnosis of Pulmonary Emphysema in Smokers," in George Weinbaum, Ralph E.
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What has attracted increasing attention in recent years is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which used to be diagnosed as chronic bronchitis or pulmonary emphysema.
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