Bibasilar subsegmental atelectasis (lung collapse)

Posted by helena4000 @helena4000, Apr 6, 2019

Hi, I've been having breathing problems, chest pain for over a month now. All of my symptoms started on February 23, 2019 after I was running and overexerted myself pretty badly. For weeks my doctor was giving me anxiety as the cause, until finally I bothered him enough that he ordered a stress test. When they did the stress test they found "possible pericarditis" and I was started on colchicine and ibuprofen. However, in the blood test they did not find any inflammatory markers. I've gotten worse since. I have shortness of breath all the time and rapid breathing attacks more often. My heart also has had periods of fast beating out of nowhere, which took me to the emergency room last Tuesday, where they did a CT scan. On the CT Scan they found no pericardial effusion, but they did find bibasilar subsegmental atelectasis. This apparently is partial collapse of lungs, which appears to match my symptoms exactly. However, despite this diagnosis, my doctor does not think the atelectasis has anything to do with my breathing problems or chest pain. He hasn't even ordered a pulmonary referral to check. I have since gone to another doctor who did think I should see a pulmonary specialist, so I found one who will take me next week. I'll probably have to go to another ER soon as well. Has anyone gone through a CT scan where they found this atelectasis?

Good morning @helena4000. I have not had your experience however I know all about shortness of breath that accompanies lung cancer. I re-broke a rib as a result of lung cancer surgery and when the rib hit my chest wall the pain was incredible. Before my Xray the doctor thought that my lung might have collapsed. When this started it must have scared you very much, to say the least. I am so happy when patients stand up to their doctors for good healthcare. I applaud you for this. Here are two sites that you might find helpful, if you haven't already. Good luck!
https://www.healthline.com/health/bibasilar-atelectasis, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atelectasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369684

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@helena4000 I have atelectasis in both my lower lobes. There are a number of causes and of course severity. In my case I wouldn’t even know I had it if it wasn’t for the cat scan picking it up. I don’t have any pain form it. A pneumothorax is painful, atelectasis isn’t, at least not for me. They aren’t doing anything about it but that is my situation. Seeing a pulmonologist is an excellent idea. Something is going on that needs to be identified.

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@clipper

@helena4000 I have atelectasis in both my lower lobes. There are a number of causes and of course severity. In my case I wouldn’t even know I had it if it wasn’t for the cat scan picking it up. I don’t have any pain form it. A pneumothorax is painful, atelectasis isn’t, at least not for me. They aren’t doing anything about it but that is my situation. Seeing a pulmonologist is an excellent idea. Something is going on that needs to be identified.

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Do you have any feeling like you can't take a deep breath in? Or any shortness of breath? Chest pain?

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@merpreb

Good morning @helena4000. I have not had your experience however I know all about shortness of breath that accompanies lung cancer. I re-broke a rib as a result of lung cancer surgery and when the rib hit my chest wall the pain was incredible. Before my Xray the doctor thought that my lung might have collapsed. When this started it must have scared you very much, to say the least. I am so happy when patients stand up to their doctors for good healthcare. I applaud you for this. Here are two sites that you might find helpful, if you haven't already. Good luck!
https://www.healthline.com/health/bibasilar-atelectasis, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atelectasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369684

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Thank you Merry….it's so easy for everything to go haywire so quickly

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@helena4000

Do you have any feeling like you can't take a deep breath in? Or any shortness of breath? Chest pain?

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@helena4000
I have never had chest pain. I am early stage 4 emphysema so yes I feel short of breath but that is the emphysema. I was having problems breathing long before the atelectasis appeared in the scan. Don’t panic, if you had emphysema it would of shown up in your ct scan.

The pulmonologist should be able to figure out why you are having pain and difficulties breathing. I know waiting is hard.

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Thank you, it is….I keep having these rapid breathing attacks. I find it astonishing that my primary care doctor didn't even order a pulmonary specialist to evaluate me yet. I had to get that through another doctor. I really ran into a lemon with my doctor.

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@helena4000 It can happen with PCPs not recommending specialist. I"m just glad that you got a pulmonologist through another doctor. Gosh, it makes sense to have one with your issues. Glad you are under the care fo a specialist.

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@alamogal635

@helena4000 It can happen with PCPs not recommending specialist. I"m just glad that you got a pulmonologist through another doctor. Gosh, it makes sense to have one with your issues. Glad you are under the care fo a specialist.

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Thank you…it is beyond frustrating. The ironic part is that I research physician training and patient quality of care for a living. They are always saying to make the patient voice heard and all that stuff, and all I run into is doctors who don't seem to be listening to me.

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DOn't be hard on yourself. It simply happens. I"m just glad you have it sorted out and cn get some proper help now. Wishing you the best.

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@alamogal635

DOn't be hard on yourself. It simply happens. I"m just glad you have it sorted out and cn get some proper help now. Wishing you the best.

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So I have been in the hospital since Sunday morning. I went to emergency because I had three rapid breathing attacks in one night. They have done an ekg, chest x-rays, cardiac MRI, respiratory panel, pulmonary function tests. Yesterday the cardiologist put in an order for a pulmonary person to come talk to me (after over a month of me saying I can't breathe well someone finally said I should talk to pulmonary for breathing problems!), and respiratory started doing breathing treatments of Albuterol which seemed to help me a lot in the short term. Unfortunately, they don't last but I feel better after they do them. The cardiac MRI found pleural effusion, and said pleurisy may be causing sharp right-sided chest pain….the pulmonary function test made it pretty evident that intense breathing is causing sharp pain that goes through to my back. I don't have any definitive answers yet and have broke down crying in front of the doctors on a couple occasions.

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Really feel for you. Have had pleurisy before and your experience sounds much like mine. Mine was diagnosed sooner than yours, but the pain was excruciating. This was a number of years ago and there was little that could be done for it to help take the pain away. I think I was given an inhaler and that really didn't do a whole lot. Anyway, it too a couple of weeks to start clearing up and then the pain subsided rather quickly. If it is pleurisy, or something else, I wish you the best. It was pleurisy that stopped my smoking habit back when. Ha, was trying to smoke with ht horrid lung pain. Relized it was a stupid thing to do. Again, wishing you a good diagnosis and speedy recovery. .

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@alamogal635

Really feel for you. Have had pleurisy before and your experience sounds much like mine. Mine was diagnosed sooner than yours, but the pain was excruciating. This was a number of years ago and there was little that could be done for it to help take the pain away. I think I was given an inhaler and that really didn't do a whole lot. Anyway, it too a couple of weeks to start clearing up and then the pain subsided rather quickly. If it is pleurisy, or something else, I wish you the best. It was pleurisy that stopped my smoking habit back when. Ha, was trying to smoke with ht horrid lung pain. Relized it was a stupid thing to do. Again, wishing you a good diagnosis and speedy recovery. .

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Thank you so much….I will never take for granted being able to breathe normally take a deep breath again in my life.

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@helena4000

So I have been in the hospital since Sunday morning. I went to emergency because I had three rapid breathing attacks in one night. They have done an ekg, chest x-rays, cardiac MRI, respiratory panel, pulmonary function tests. Yesterday the cardiologist put in an order for a pulmonary person to come talk to me (after over a month of me saying I can't breathe well someone finally said I should talk to pulmonary for breathing problems!), and respiratory started doing breathing treatments of Albuterol which seemed to help me a lot in the short term. Unfortunately, they don't last but I feel better after they do them. The cardiac MRI found pleural effusion, and said pleurisy may be causing sharp right-sided chest pain….the pulmonary function test made it pretty evident that intense breathing is causing sharp pain that goes through to my back. I don't have any definitive answers yet and have broke down crying in front of the doctors on a couple occasions.

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@helena4000– awww, I can really understand your frustration and relief that someone is finally listening to you. I once broke down too and in tears asked why that certain doctor wouldn't listen to me. But we shouldn't have to get to that point.
I've also had pleurisy and it is very very painful. Keep on those doctors to get answers! Perhaps when you are discharged you can be given an RX for a nebulizer, if you still need one.
Heart problems often cause breathing problems. We are connected inside much more than we realize. Both are pretty much dependent on one another.
Do you have any idea what the next step will be? Are you still in pain?

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@helena4000

Thank you so much….I will never take for granted being able to breathe normally take a deep breath again in my life.

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That sure explains your pain. Too bad it had to come to an ER visit but at least now you are on the right track. Hope you are feeling better.

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@merpreb

@helena4000– awww, I can really understand your frustration and relief that someone is finally listening to you. I once broke down too and in tears asked why that certain doctor wouldn't listen to me. But we shouldn't have to get to that point.
I've also had pleurisy and it is very very painful. Keep on those doctors to get answers! Perhaps when you are discharged you can be given an RX for a nebulizer, if you still need one.
Heart problems often cause breathing problems. We are connected inside much more than we realize. Both are pretty much dependent on one another.
Do you have any idea what the next step will be? Are you still in pain?

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Well, i was released with an "official" diagnosis of pleurisy. They said they saw pericardial effusion and pleural effusion, so I guess a double whammy for pressure causing breathing problems. They gave me an Albuterol inhaler which does seem to make me feel less "stiff" in my breathing… I felt like my few moments of normalcy since this all started have been right after they gave me breathing treatments. They told me to start a Prednisone pack this morning. And they also gave me some Xanax for associated anxiety. I was told to follow-up with a pulmonologist in two weeks. They also gave me this lung strengthening apparatus that has a ball inside that kind of goes up when you inhale. The respiratory nurse said that they give that apparatus to people after surgeries who have atelectasis specifically for reinflating those collapsed alveoli. That seems to be helpful–when I get the feeling I'm going to have a rapid breathing attack I start using that. Not sure how I'm going to handle that at work though. The chest and back pain is still there, but better when resting.

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