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Bullous emphysema – an incidental observation during dissection

Everett J. BROKAW, Brandon J. CRIVELLO, Anita JOY

During routine dissection, a pulmonary bulla was observed on the diaphragmatic surface of the right lung of an 87 year old male donor. Examination revealed a possible case of bullous emphysema. Bullous emphysema results when pulmonary bullae, defined as an air-filled space >1cm diameter and with a wall thickness <1mm, form as a consequence of alveolar breakdown in a normal lung, or as a sequela of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with resultant emphysema. The dissection team documented this anatomical variation and used this as a learning experience to conduct a detailed literature review of the pathogenesis, mechanisms, treatment options and clinical management of these patients in a dental setting.

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