What Does It Mean To Have A Somewhat Flattened Diaphragm And How Is It Related To Emphysema And Copd?


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The diaphragms are the muscles that separate the chest from the abdomen and are used in ventilation.  They normally have a dome shape.  With smoking and the development of emphysema, there may be the development of hyperinflation and air trapping.  This increased volume within the chest pushes the diaphragm down giving it a flattened rather than a domed shape.  Another possibility is that your husband took an abnormally large breath in when he was asked to hold his breath for the chest x-ray and this large breath caused some flattening of the diaphragm.

Response by:
  Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

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