I had a CT Thorax w/ Contrast recently and the report came back normal but under the note of impression it said MILD EMPHYSEMATOUS CHANGE. Well #1 I didnt know I had it to change at all and then my doctor told me I had Emphysema. Is my doctor telling me I have this as a warning or does this term really mean i have it?
Mild emphysematous change is a term used to describe a change from normal; not a change in previously existent disease.
The good news is that it is described as, “MILD”, and that suggests that, even if you have such changes, they may not be clinically significant. If you smoke cigarettes, this report should be seen as a “red flag”, indicating that you should stop smoking, now and forever.
You will have to ask your doctor about what he/she meant with this report.
CT scanning can detect small changes of emphysema but it is not a measure of pulmonary function. If your doctor did tell you that you have emphysema, you should request that he order complete pulmonary function tests to get an accurate measure of its severity. “Mild emphysematous change” implies that the changes are minimal. Another way to put it is that the abnormalities noted are just slightly on the other side of “normal.”
Do not lose any sleep over the possibility of emphysema.
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