Paraseptal emphysema

Paraseptal emphysema. Also known as distal acinar emphysema , it preferably involves the distal structures of the airways, alveolar ducts, and alveolar sacs.


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  • 1 Symptoms
  • 2 Causes and risk factors
  • 3 Complications
  • 4 Diagnosis
  • 5 Treatment
  • 6 Source


The alveolar sacs that are affected in paraseptal emphysema are very close to the pleura or the lining of the lung. The bags become inflamed and enlarged, limiting the speed and amount of air that can pass through them. The distal alveoli of the airways are not as vital as the larger structures in the center of the lungs, so a person cannot have significant respiratory difficulties. If symptoms are present, asthma can mimic symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Causes and risk factors

Adults between the ages of 18 and 30 are at increased risk of developing paraseptal emphysema, although doctors are not sure why this is so. The disease is related to a hereditary defect or an autoimmune condition .

Some cases arise later in life in combination with other emphysema as a long-term smoking complication . The condition usually occurs on its own in young adults, although older people often suffer from chronic bronchitis as well .


The proximity of the inflamed alveoli to the pleura presents the risk of damage to the lining of the lung. If the pleura is compromised, air can escape into the chest cavity and lead to lung collapse .


Paraseptal emphysema often goes undiagnosed until it is found by chance when the patient is treated for a collapsed lung. The X – rays , CT scans , and lung biopsies can help doctors confirm the presence of emphysema.


If paraseptal emphysema doesn’t cause problems, you may not need treatment at all. Patients are encouraged to simply attend regular check-ups to ensure that no problems arise.

Many of the cases remain undiagnosed and untreated for several years, and complications may never occur. It is possible, however, for this type of emphysema, to cause a lung collapse or to progress to larger areas of lung tissue. Treatment depends on the severity of the damage to the lungs and may include medications , surgery, or both.

Any respiratory distress can usually be alleviated with [[inhaled bronchodilators, which help relax and open the airways to make breathing easier. If emphysema spreads and inflames the main structures, a surgeon may have to remove part or all of a lung. Physical therapy and continued medical attention may be necessary if surgery is performed.


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