PR MICHEL BRAUNER / ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PR MICHEL BRAUNER / ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Emphysema. Frontal chest X-ray of a male patient with diffuse pulmonary emphysema, showing a large chest distension, as shown by the flattening of the diaphragm, and the presence of devascularised areas, particularly in the lung bases. Emphysema causes the tiny air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs to become damaged, leading to the walls between them breaking down. This causes large areas of trapped air and leads to a smaller surface area for gaseous exchange, restricting oxygen uptake by the blood. Emphysema is caused by smoking and is incurable. Treatment is aimed at preventing further damage.
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