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Lung diseases

Pleural parenchymal scarring

01/23/2008

Question:

I had a chest xray done in 2004 that stated I had pleural parenchymal scarring in the left base, and hyperinflation of the lungs, but otherwise clear. I had a repeat xray last week (4 years later) that states my lungs are clear with no sign of disease. How can that be? Somethings like this just goes away, or heals itself?

Answer:

Pleural thickening on a chest x-ray can be due to permanent scar (in which case it does not go away), fluid (in which case it may go away), or inflammation (in which case it also may go away). Also, chest x-rays can vary in terms of technique so it is a good idea to have the radiologist compare the newer to the older x-rays to determine if there has been any change by head-to-head comparison. Hyperinflation is usually due to either asthma or emphysema and can be more pronounced at the time of a flare in either of these conditions; so if either asthma or emphysema comes under better control, the hyperinflation will improve.

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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