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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Mild Basilar Atelectasis

09/14/2009

Question:

Just got results of chest x-ray of Mild Basilar Atelectasis/Scarring. I had a severe case of Whooping Cough last year. My question is: Is this Basilar Atelectasis a result of that? I have an off and on cough and have also been treated for severe acid reflux for several years. I was a smoker (35 years) but stopped smoking 12 years ago. Is this diagnosis one that I should be concerned about & see a specialist?

Answer:

Basilar atelectasis can be seen in the lung from many causes. It means that there are areas in the bottom part of the lung where small portions of the lung are compressed or collapsed. This can be due to conditions like previous pneumonia, insufficient inhalation during the chest x-ray, recurrent aspiration (from acid reflux), and plugs of mucus, just to name a few. 

Mild basilar atelectasis itself usually causes minimal or no symptoms, but the underlying condition that created the scarring or atelectasis could be the cause of a persistent cough.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University