What causes flattening of the diaphragm?

Q. Chest x-ray revealed a flattened diaphragm. Please help.

Answered by
Dr. Divakara. P
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 15, 2017 and last reviewed on: Jun 30, 2023

Hi doctor,

My husband is 52 years old. He has never smoked and is currently training for a half marathon. He is very fit. For a couple of years, he is suffering from mild asthma and using Ventolin inhaler. For the past few months, he is suffering from chronic cough and that sounds like an asthmatic cough. This is not always relieved by the Ventolin. He had a spirometry test which came back normal. A few weeks ago he came down with pneumonia and had a chest x-ray which revealed a flattened diaphragm. He was treated with antibiotics, fully recovered from the pneumonia and had a second x-ray done a few days ago with the same result. The doctor has given him a referral to a pulmonologist, but the appointment is only after a month. I am very concerned about his x-ray results. I have attached all his reports for your reference. What are the likely diagnoses?



Welcome to icliniq.com. Well, your husband's x-ray (attachment removed to protect patient identity) shows stable hyperinflation. It means his lungs are over distended (mildly) with air. This is the result of his asthma. More than asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a better diagnosis. In this condition, the amount of air he inhales is not completely exhaled out. So, with every breath some amount ofair gets trapped in the lung and gradually it over distends the lungs. An over distended lung needs more space to accommodate itself and hence it pushes the diaphragm downwards. This results in flattening of diaphragm. There is no need to worry, as his spirometry test has come normal. It indicates the problem is mild. He needs to do deep breathing exercise, incentive spirometry and avoid dust and smoke.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
Can allergic asthma turn into permanent asthma?

.. your symptoms, you are suffering from bronchial asthma with allergic rhinitis, but you need to confirm this by doing a spirometry with reversibility test. Asthma is a disease related to hypersensitivity of our respiratory system to some allergens whic   Read full

Exercises to do when one has ankylosing spondylitis with an Andersson lesion.

diaper rash? how do i cure?   Read full

Does my chest x-ray show any nodules of concern?

diaper rash? how do i cure?   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

PCOS and Liver Problems
The hormonal imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome could cause liver diseases. Read the article to know the relationship between these medical conditions.  Read more»
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Lateralization Technique
The inferior alveolar nerve lateralization technique is a surgical lateralization technique to reposition the nerve. Read the article to know more about this.  Read more»
COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences
This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Pulmonologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.