Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Emphysema


These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Emphysema [posted 11/3/98]
Question: I am a 43 year old female who has been treated for hiatil hernia/gerd since 1991 nothing completely helped. I would really like to know your opinion of the meds the dr. has me on. At night it's worse of all i can't sleep because I have alot of trouble breathing. I have tried everything they told me to and I feel like I've swallowed a golf ball all the time.

Answer: You didn't name the drugs. Usual drugs are drugs to decrease acid(Zantac, etc at first and then Prilosec or Prevacid) and then drugs to decrease reflux. This is usually propulsid since reglan(the other) can have long term neurologic side effects. Lastly is surgical repairs. Usually done through the laparoscope by putting a ring type structure around the esophagus and keeping the stomach in the abdomen.

Emphysema [posted 8/6/98]
Question: I have suddenly developed a form of emphysema, with difficulty breathing, sometimes with very little exertion. At other times I can perform strenuous exercise with no apparent adverse effects. I was taking doxycycline about eight months ago and was trying to be careful in avoiding the sun. One day I went for a walk and forgot a hat on a sunny day and was stricken with exhaustion, high fever (105 degrees) and had to be taken to the emergency room. Is doxycycline a possible culprit for my emphysema?

Answer: Possibly, if you had any form of allergic reaction to the drug. Otherwise, not likely.

Emphysema Operation
Question: I've heard about an operation for emphysema, but when I ask a Dr. about it, I rarely get any response on the subject. I'm age 58 and just quit smoking about 2 mths ago. If there is any chance of having this done I would be quite interested.

Answer: The operation for treatment of emphysema is only for those patients who are very incapacitated by their pulmonary disease. It involves surgery to decrease the size of "blebs" or big bubbles in the lung. Not every patient with emphysema has these big bubbles in their chest. If you are incapacitated and have these large bubbles you might be a candidate.
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Last modified August 6, 1998