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Clinical features of emphysema

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The clinical features of 'pure' emphysema include:

  • dyspnoea
  • pursed-lip breathing
  • the absence of cyanosis
  • tachypnoea
  • thin and often elderly patient
  • scanty sputum production
  • chest hyperinflation
  • reduced breath sounds - quietest over bullae
  • cor pulmonale is infrequent, but usually terminal

Emphysema is usually accompanied by other lung disease such as chronic bronchitis; this is the familiar picture of chronic obstructive airways disease.

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