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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Mild Scattered Bilateral Subsegmental Atelect



HI My CAT scan says "mild scattered bilateral subsegmental atelectasis with probable peripheral mucous plugging, most pronounced in the right middle lobe. Additional small subpleural nodules are indeterminate."

How serious is this? The CAT scan was done because I had to go to the ER with upper back/lung pain. My blood came back elevated and the doctor recommended the CAT scan. I left the ER with some Codine and IBU for pain. I`ve had the pain (which is now increasing) for 3.5 yrs. My regular doctor recommended a upper endoscopy to see if perhaps my pain is related to acid reflux. Today, after having my upper endoscopy done, I obtained my CAT scan report and I`m very worried about the results. The ER doctor said my CAT scan was normal but the report has the mentioned language. I do feel as if the pain is deep in my lungs. Is there anything I could do? should I ask my doctor to refer my to the pulmonologist.

thank you very much for any comments/recommendations.


A pulmonologist would likely be in the best position to interpret the CT scan findings in the context of your medical history and physical examination. Mucus plugging is common in diseases such as asthma, COPD, and pneumonia. Pulmonary nodules can be seen in a variety of conditions and although these are usually benign, they may warrant follow up depending on their size and your risk factors for cancer. Atelectasis means areas where the lung is partially collapsed - often due to mucus plugs blocking the airway.

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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