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Meaning of lung X Ray report

Aug 15, 2004

Hi, Dr. Pierone, Thank you for this forum.

I just had a chest X Ray due to shortness of breath and a slightly weird feeling in the lung. The report refers to a "linear area of scarring in the left base and a shorter one in the left peri hilar region".It also refers to "prominent right pericardial fat". There were no "acute infiltrates".

Can you please explain what the above mean and would they explain shortness of breath and a bit of discomfort in my lungs? Any further tests you'd do and any treatment for the above? What causes scarring of lungs anyway?

Thank you so much!

Response from Dr. Pierone

It is quite common to have chest x-ray reports of "scarring". Scarring is usually related to previous lung infection or exposure to toxic air pollutants. For example, many previous or current smokers will have scarring noted on chest x-ray, although many will have evidence of lung damage as measured by pulmonary function tests, despite a normal chest x-ray. The medical evaluation of shortness of breath often starts with a chest x-ray and then may proceed to pulmonary function tests (or sometimes heart tests as well). The presence of scarring itself generally has no significance and does not cause symptoms.

There is fat surrounding the pericardium (outside lining of the heart) and some persons have a prominent appearance of this fat pad of no significance.

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