Abnormal distension of the lung with air due to irreversible damage to the alveoli. With chronic emphysema the tissue of the affected areas becomes less elastic through permanent overinflation. This is irreversible, and the result is irreparable damage to the alveoli and their membranes.
Causes / trigger:
As a disease pulmonary emphysema is often the consequence of chronic bronchitis in smokers.
Symptoms / signs / effects:
- Cough and sputum over many years.
- Barrel-shaped chest as the muscles of the chest remain in the inhalation position.
- Changes occurring in the lung tissue puts a strain on the right-hand side of the heart. In severe cases this may result in heart failure.
- Pulmonary function test, X-ray examination and ECG.
- To slow down the disease and exploit the reserves still available.
- When occurring in conjunction with bronchial asthma or COPD administration of drugs designed to dilate the airways as well as antibiotics when the sputum contains pus.
- Respiratory therapy.
- In severe cases long-term oxygen therapy is necessary.
- In the advanced stages of the disease the only option is a lung transplant.