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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Mild basilar atelectasis

06/25/2007

Question:

Three and a half years ago, in advance of a pelvic surgery, I had a CT scan that indicated bilateral, mild basilar and dependent atelectactic changes. Now I am noticing shortness of breath and a dry hacking cough.

Is a finding of mild basilar and dependent atelectactic changes a concern?

Answer:

Atelectasis means that parts of the lung are collapsed or compressed. Many things can cause atelectasis - some are serious and others are not so serious. Also, interstitial lung disease (for example, pulmonary fibrosis) can mimic atelectasis in its earliest stages.

If you are now having respiratory symptoms, it would be a good idea to re-evaluate the lungs, perhaps with a follow-up chest CT scan to see if the changes have either improved or deteriorated. It is possible that the atelectasis 3 1/2 years ago is not even related to your current symptoms.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University