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Atelectasis - is this something I should follow-up, or is it a 'no...
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Atelectasis - is this something I should follow-up, or is it a 'normal' finding?

Hello! I am not really sure which forum to post this in, but since my question involves the lung, I will ask here.  I was being evaluated for an ongoing medical condition (not specific to lungs) and as incidental finding, there was a notation in the notes of my CT scan:

Focal nodular infiltrative oapacity within the medial basilar segment of the right lung; pneumonitis versus atelectasis.

The CT was done in the ER and we were concentrating on the problem that brought me there and not this incidental finding.  Is this something that is likely 'nothing' or should follow-up be done?  I don't want to miss something that might be serious, but also don't want to undergo another CT scan unless absolutely necessary.   If the cause of the finding was something serious (i.e., a tumor) wouldn't that have showed up as well and it would have been noted as such? Again, just trying to avoid an unnecessary CT scan if in fact it isn't necessary, but don't want to ignore if it could be something more serious.

Thank you for your expert advice, doctor!
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Dear mochamommy0816,

I will try to provide you with the information as much as I can with the details you have shared.

I would like to know a few more details regarding your problem to be able to help you better.

1. What is the primary condition for which you were taken to ER?
2. Any medications that you are currently taking.
3. What is your occupation and how long is it? Do you work in a factory that release chemicals in the smoke like Asbestos, Lead, Coal etc?
4. Why was the CT scan of thorax advised?

Atelectasis means a part of lungs is not expanding. This can happen due to many conditions like some infection, negative pressure in the airways.

There is neither a symptom related to lung condition nor a past medical history of lung / airway disease, it is not serious condition. It is not life threatening in the absence of any risk factors like Smoking, exposure to chemicals during work. As I do not have complete history I would not ask you to ignore it completely. Please visit a chest disease specialist in your city and get examined. The doctor after examination can take a call for further investigations.

Hope that this information helps and hope that you will get better soon.

Thank you for using MedHelp's "Ask an Expert" Service, where we feature some of world's renowned medical experts in their fields. Millions have benefitted from our service to get personalized advice for them and for their loved ones.

Best Regards,
Dr. Pragnesh
5 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Forgot to say, I am a 45 year old female, non-smoker, no reason to be concerned about any lung diseases (that I know of).   Just wanting to make sure that I am not ignoring something that might warrant further attention :). I tend to panic and think the worst, so I will be concerned about this until I know more about exactly what this 'finding' means or doesn't mean :)  Thank you again for the input.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello, Dr. Pragnesh!

Thank you for your reply.  Here are the responses to your questions:

1. What is the primary  condition for which you were taken to ER?

I had a history of kidney stones and thought that I was dealing with another one due to some ongoing pain that I had in my pelvic region.

2. Any medications that you are currently taking.  I take plaquenil for fibromyalgia/arthritis, and prozac.  No other medications.


3. What is your occupation and how long is it? Do you work in a factory that release chemicals in the smoke like Asbestos, Lead, Coal etc?  I work in an office environment, and have never worked in a factory.  


4. Why was the CT scan of thorax advised?   To rule out kidney stones.

I am a female, 45 years old, non-smoker.     Other than the fibromyalgia/arthritis and periodic bouts with kidney stones, I have no known health concerns or conditions.  Thank you for clarifying with any additional information that you might have based on my responses.    From what I understand you are saying, this is NOT life-threatening or cancerous?

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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Dear mochamommy0816,

Good to hear from you again.

Yes, your understanding is right, it does not seem to be cancerous or life threatening but still needs proper evaluation.

Your present medication and pre existing medical conditions do not seem to have any relation with this.

As advised earlier, please visit a chest physician and get yourself properly evaluated and treated as per the final diagnosis.

Hope that this information helps and hope that you will get better soon.

Best Regards
Dr. Pragnesh.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello, Dr. Pragnesh -

I did have a visit with my primary care physician who wants to re-evaluate it in six months.  He did reassure me that it does not seem to be anything 'serious', but does want to keep an eye on it. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction!
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