Q. What test should be done to confirm emphysema?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by Dr.Nithila A
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 07, 2019

Hello doctor,

I had a chest x-ray and chest ct scan done. And they both came back normal. If I had emphysema would it have shown up on one of those two tests?

Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiodiagnosis Radiology
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Significant emphysema in the lungs would have been visualized in the x-rays. Early stages of emphysema are difficult to see on x-ray and are visualized only on HRCT (high-resolution computerized tomography) chest scan.

If X-rays are normal then more likely that you do not have lung emphysema.


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Thank you doctor,

I got a very bad acute bronchitis before three months. I went to an urgent care. They said I had acute bronchitis and emphysema after doing a chest X-ray. I had a second chest X-ray from my doctor after a few days of being on antibiotics and steroids. That came back normal. Still not feeling good and had a chest ct scan done that also came back normal.

My symptoms are trouble sleeping, fatigue, and some breathlessness. Do I have to do a stress test schedule?. please advice.

Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiodiagnosis Radiology
#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Discussing on CT scans, there are two types of chest CT scans usually done to study the lung diseases. A conventional CT chest scan is done to get an overall idea of the chest and an HRCT chest scan is done to evaluate for diffuse lung diseases like emphysema and to get a detailed view of the lung lobules.

Emphysema patterns are described based on findings of HRCT chest scans. In most people, if the conventional CT chest scan is normal then there is less likely that there are any serious problems with the lung architecture. However, an HRCT chest scan helps to completely rule out any possible emphysema of abnormal lung patterns.

If you have got an HRCT chest scan done then there is no need for more scans, however, if your breathing discomfort persists and an HRCT chest scan is not done yet then you may discuss the same with your doctors after getting pulmonary function tests done. You may proceed with the scheduled stress test.


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