Emphysema - Diagnosis

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What kinds of tests and exams did you have that led to a diagnosis of emphysema?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

How is emphysema diagnosed?

After obtaining a history and physical exam, especially noting whether or not the patient is or has been a tobacco smoker, the doctor may recommend several tests.

  • Usually the first preliminary test is a chest X-ray that helps distinguish emphysema from other lung problems.
  • A computerized tomography (CT) scan may be ordered to provide the doctor with more information. This test allows the physician to see the actual makeup of the lung tissue and visualize the degree of emphysema.
  • Additional tests such as lung function spirometry tests that measure how well a person can move air in and out of their lungs is often ordered.
  • More elaborate testing determines how well gases diffuse through the lung tissue. This test is called the diffusing capacity test, and is a physiologic test of underlying emphysema in patients with obstructed airflow, as measured by spirometry. In addition, blood taken from an artery can determine how well the patient's blood is being oxygenated by the lungs, and how well carbon dioxide is being removed.
  • A non-invasive test of oxygenation is the oximeter. This is a small device usually place on a finger that measures a person's oxygen saturation and pulse.

The diagnosis of emphysema is based on the results of these tests. Often, your primary doctor will refer you to a pulmonary specialist for any additional diagnostic tests and treatments.

Return to Emphysema

See what others are saying

Comment from: Lisa, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

A CT scan of my chest and pulmonary function tests were used for my diagnosis.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors