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Lung diseases

Bulla in lingula

07/06/2009

Question:

I had went to the hospital in 2005 because of sever pain in my back for no reason and was diagnosed to have a kidney etone. But upon xray the hospital diagnosed me with a Large Bulla in the lingula area of the left lung and said that there was nothing that they can do for me and that their is a chance that it will collapse and their is a chance that nothing will happen at all. I used to smoke and I immediately quit right after being diagnosed and have regretfully i started again, but i stoped again and haven`t smoked in 2 years. If I wait for the lung to collapse as the Dr told me at the hospital what are the dangers of it collapsing? What are the signs of collapse? I constantly check my O2 SAT with the finger monitor and it is always in the 96%-98% - What are the chances of collapse?

Answer:

Most bullae do not rupture (collapse). The danger is that if they do, a person can develop a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Giant bullae that are larger than 1/3 of the lung are sometimes removed surgically if they are causing shortness of breath. Smaller bullae are usually left alone. Most people never have any problem from them but people with large bullae should generally avoid SCUBA diving or pilot aircraft due to the possibility that the bullae can enlarge with air pressure changes.

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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