Hello Dr. - I am a 50-year old male, 6'0" tall, 235 lbs, non-smoker with a long history of acid reflux, for which I take medication.
Back in March I had a severe, burning reflux attack which culminated with three days of the worst, most violent coughing I've ever experienced. Ever since then, I've heard a noise from my lungs when lying down at night, when I breathe in. It's sort of an abrupt whooshing or puff sound, fairly quiet, that occurs about 2/3 of the way through the inhale. I notice it maybe 70-80% of the time when lying awake at night.
I went to see my doctor after the coughing attack, and he did some spirometry (results "not bad") and a chest x-ray (" a bit of inflammation" ), listened to my lungs ("some wheezing") and he prescribed an inhaler, antibiotics and prednisone. On the 2-week follow up the spirometry was much better (no repeat x-ray), but he prescribed one more round of antibiotics and prednisone to ensure I was getting better.
Since that time I've had none of the coughing but the nighttime breathing noises have continued. I went for a follow up with my doctor in early July, and he listened to my lungs and told me they are very clear.
Yet the breathing noises continue when I lay down. Years back I lost my stepfather to pulmonary fibrosis, so I've been having a degree of anxiety about this. What would you suggest?
I suspect that you have continued to have gastric reflux and are likely to be aspirating (into your lungs) some of the refluxed gastric content. I suggest that you be treated with medication (not just antacids) for the acid reflux (GERD) and then tested to see if the reflux has been halted. If you continue to have reflux, despite optimum anti-reflux medication you and your doctor should consider requesting consultation with a Gastrointestinal specialist. In some instances in which reflux is refractory to good treatment, surgery may be required.
The continuation of reflux with aspiration is capable of causing chronic lung disease and you definitely want to avoid that.
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