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CT scan done, detected atelectasis in right lung. No history of lung disease. Cause of concern?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1995
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Atelectasis - is this something I should follow-up, or is it a 'normal' finding? :

Hello! I was being evaluated for an ongoing medical condition (not specific to lungs) and as incidental finding, there was a notation in the notes of my CT scan:

Focal nodular infiltrative oapacity within the medial basilar segment of the right lung; pneumonitis versus atelectasis.

The CT was done in the ER and we were concentrating on the problem that brought me there and not this incidental finding. Is this something that is likely 'nothing' or should follow-up be done? I don't want to miss something that might be serious, but also don't want to undergo another CT scan unless absolutely necessary. If the cause of the finding was something serious (i.e., a tumor) wouldn't that have showed up as well and it would have been noted as such? Again, just trying to avoid an unnecessary CT scan if in fact it isn't necessary, but don't want to ignore if it could be something more serious.

Thank you for your expert advice, doctor!

Forgot to say, I am a 45 year old female, non-smoker, no reason to be concerned about any lung diseases (that I know of). Just wanting to make sure that I am not ignoring something that might warrant further attention :). I tend to panic and think the worst, so I will be concerned about this until I know more about exactly what this 'finding' means or doesn't mean :) Thank you again for the input.
Posted Sun, 15 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 41 hours later
I will try to provide you with the information as much as I can with the details you have shared.

I would like to know a few more details regarding your problem to be able to help you better.
1. What is the primary condition for which you were taken to ER?
2. Any medications that you are currently taking.
3. Any major event in past.
4. Why was the CT scan of thorax was advised?

Atelectasis means a part of lungs is not expanding. This can happen due to many conditions like some infection, some pressure on lungs from inside or outside. The other possibility raised in CT scan is of infection like pneumonia.

You should not ignore this condition. Please visit a chest disease specialist in your city and are examined. Though you are not having any symptoms proper, evaluation is must. You may need some more investigation like X-ray, blood counts and other reports as per his advice.

After having some final diagnosis, more can be advised on this.

Hope I have answered your query. Please do write back to me with the details so that I can help you better.

Awaiting your response.

Dr. Pragnesh, M.D.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: CT scan done, detected atelectasis in right lung. No history of lung disease. Cause of concern? 4 days later
Hello, Dr. Pragnesh!

Thank you for your reply. Here are the responses to your questions:

1. What is the primary condition for which you were taken to ER?

I had a history of kidney stones and thought that I was dealing with another one due to some ongoing pain that I had in my pelvic region.

2. Any medications that you are currently taking. I take plaquenil for fibromyalgia/arthritis, and prozac. No other medications.

3. What is your occupation and how long is it? Do you work in a factory that release chemicals in the smoke like Asbestos, Lead, Coal etc? I work in an office environment, and have never worked in a factory.

4. Why was the CT scan of thorax advised? To rule out kidney stones.

I am a female, 45 years old, non-smoker. Other than the fibromyalgia/arthritis and periodic bouts with kidney stones, I have no known health concerns or conditions. Thank you for clarifying with any additional information that you might have based on my responses. From what I understand you are saying, this is NOT life-threatening or cancerous?
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 2 hours later

Good to hear from you again.

Thanks for proving more information.

Yes, your understanding is right, it does not seems to cancerous or life threating but still needs proper evaluation.

Your present medication and pre existing medical condition does not seems to have any relation with this.

As advised earlier, please visit a chest physician and get your self properly evaluated and treated as per the final diagnosis.

Hope, this help to solve your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have follow up queries.

Wish you good health.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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