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Collapsed Lung
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Collapsed Lung

Iam a 47 year old mail who is 6 months post op froma spinal fusion in the area of C4 and C5. This surgery was a redono based on a failed fusion. Since the surgery, i have had difficulty breathing. After a lung CT adn Xrays, it was determined that I have a partial collapse of the lower right lung. The CT and Xray show that my Diaphragm on the right side is elevated. My Primary care physician and back surgeon seem to be at a loss. There has been some mention of Phrenic nerve involvement by the back surgeon but he does not believe this to be the cause. Can you please provide me with some inforamtion on how I may proceed. At present, I am waiting for an appointment with a chest surgeon which is scheduled for next week. Thanks.
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What you describe could be due to collapse of the right lower lobe of your lung or paralysis of the diaphragm.  Such paralysis usually indicates a problem with the phrenic nerve.  This may be temporary or permanent.  It would be important for your doctors to determine if your diaphragm can move.  If it can move, you may need other testing to find the cause of the collapse of your right lower lobe.  A lung specialist may be more helpful in finding the cause of the collapse.
5 Comments
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90270_tn?1199338069
It's good that your regular docs are around...I am sorry you are going through this though. There are alot of causes of diaphragmatic problems (which is what you are describing with your elevation of your diaphragm). Your docs hopefully will order more tests..it seems that they have already done the CT and Xray, perhaps doing a fluroscopy test (special xray that allows the doc to see how your diaphragm is working in real time), they will make you do several manuevers, such as the "sniff" test, if the affected diaphragm goes up into your thorax during breathing in and your other one drops down, then you have paralysis of that side of the diaphragm. What the docs do depends on what symptoms you are having. If you are having none, they may just watch you. The phrenic nerve which controls the diaphragm I believe (now don't quote me) belongs in the C-3 to C-5 area...I know that when my diaphragm was giving me grief, I had tests done to check my phrenic nerve, nerve conduction tests to see if there was any disease process causing my sluggish diaphragms (this was prior to the muscular dystrophy diagnosis). I wish you luck and ohhhh...found an article from e-medicine, some of it is pretty technical, but alot isn't too hard to follow:

http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic554.htm

As for the collapsed lung...I wonder if that is from the diaphragm problem you have. I am sure that the NP can help you better than I can on that subject. Sunny :)
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Sunny, Thanks for your comments. The big thing that is distressing to me is that I am only 47 years old and loose my breathe walking up a flight of stairs. Prior to the redo of the spinal fusion I was very active and this is such a shock to my system. I will check out the link you provided. I also wish you good health and a safe and happy holiday.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow I found your post very very interesting and surprising!!
I have been brething differently, for lack of better terms. Its weird its like I dont know how to brreath right anymore!! I have gone to 2 pulmo's and they are saying my lung function is good and cat scan showed no reason, I have had echo and resting and excersise stress!! Sunny can I talk to you via email concerning the diaphram and testing. Also how old are you? See I dont think drs. check for everything, I mean I would have never thought of muscular dystophy, did you? Also I'am 43 yr old female, did smoke, quit, dr feels I was very lucky to have such good lung function and "strongly" believes that this is anxiety related thats effecting breathing, also second pulmo concurred to this. Iam sorry but I feel like my diaphram is hitting something in my abdomen,actually the opposite, like my abdomen is somehow preventing the diaphram from doing its job!!
Its a vicious cycle, cause the breathing causes alot of anxiety, my neck, shoulders,upper chest and back always tense and its ruining my life!!! ***@****   if anybody
can help.  Sunny I hope I hear from you!!
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90270_tn?1199338069
I am glad you found the info helpful...trust me when I say I have been through literall hell with testing as the docs didn't know why this happened to me as far as the diaphragm goes. John, I sure hope the docs figure you out..ask alot of questions, don't be afraid to do that. Also, ask for any copies of tests that were done to you, if you go to other docs, it is very helpful for them to have that stuff as well as for you too just to keep track of what is being done or not done to you. You also have a safe holiday, enjoy it!! I know I do..I take it day to day, as long as I wake up and am feeling half way decent, I know it will be a good day for me. Hugs to you!

Georgie, my email is ***@****
I am 33 now, 34 on Dec 26th! I live on a vent now, I went from working as an ICU nurse to losing all respiratory function to the point of living on a vent over a period of 3 years. I have bilateral involvement of my diaphragm. I also was diagnosed as having cystic fibrosis as an incidental finding. Apparently my dystrophy is pretty rare too...still got to go to neuro to get a confirmation of the type, but my docs are pretty sure at this point. My pulmonary functions were almost normal the first time they were done, with the exception of my inspiratory and expiratory pressures, which basically means that my muscles weren't as strong as they should have been to pull in or exhale air. So that puzzled docs for awhile, but as they repeated the pulmonary tests, it became more and more abnormal..a restrictive pattern was clearly noted as well as worsening of my strength so the docs did do more neuro tests, muscle biopsies but they came back inconclusive. Funny thing is, the docs thought this was all in my head at one time....pretty obvious now that I live on a vent and spend most of my time in a wheelchair that it isn't in my head! I am rambling now...but please email me, or I can email you so that you have my email. I really do sympathize with you, I hope you get answers soon. Hugs and happy holidays to you, Sunny :)
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