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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Mild Flattening of Diaphragm



What does this mean? Do I have emphysema?


Flattening of the diaphragm is caused by over-distension of the lungs.  As the thoracic (chest) cavity is encased within the rib cage, pressing downward is the most common response to this over-distension of lung tissue.  While this is a common sign seen in emphysema, this alone is not diagnostic. 

You should see your physician for further evaluation including pulmonary function testing (PFTs). A complete physical examination with PFTs can provide an answer to your question.

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Response by:

Gerene S Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP, FAACVPR, FAAN Gerene S Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP, FAACVPR, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University