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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Confused

05/03/2010

Question:

I`ve had a cough that wont go away for over a month. My doctor ordered a chest xray. He said it came back indicating I have emphysema. I havent smoked in over 31 years, and only smoked less than a pack a day for 9 years before i quit. He then ordered a lung function test, and I passed. He now says I dont have emphysema. Why would my chest xray indicate I had emphysema, and can I now be assured I dont by my lung function test?

Answer:

The chest xray is not a very reliable test to diagnose emphysema.  If your lung function is normal and you only smoked for 9 years, it is unlikely you have emphysema.

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Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University