Emphysema

Also known as: Pulmonary emphysema

Pulmonary emphysema, known as emphysema, is a chronic lung condition in which the air sacs (alveoli) may be collapsed, destroyed, narrowed, overinflated or stretched.

Overinflation of the air sacs is a result of breakdown of the alveoli walls. It causes breathlessness and a decrease in respiratory function. Damage to the air sacs is irreversible, resulting in permanent holes in the lower lung tissues.

Emphysema is part of a group of lung diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD causes airflow blockage and breathing problems. The two most common COPD conditions are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.