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Bullous lung disease is a condition involving obstructive diseases and develops with air accumulation between the alveoli in the lung. The alveolar structures are airier, and the walls' destruction may lead to impaired lung circulation. If not treated, severe respiratory distress occurs.

What is Bullous Lung Disease?

In bullous disease, structures called bullae, blebs, or emphysema form in the lungs. The air spaces in the bronchioles, the last part of the bronchi, are destroyed and enlarged.

Lung structures bigger than 1 cm containing air are called bullae. Blisters may occur in the thinned and compressed lung parenchyma, pleura, and walls.

Bleb refers to the air that collects between the membrane surrounding the lung. If the thin wall of the bleb tears, air escapes into the chest cavity. This air can fill the pleural space and cause pneumothorax.

Men's risk of developing bullous lung disease is almost twice that of women. In addition, the person's age is also effective in developing the disease. The disease risk increases as the body's defenses are lower in older individuals. Conditions that cause bullae development include:

  • Smoking
  • Tuberculosis
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Prolonged exposure to harmful air pollution and poor ecological conditions
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases (such as bronchiectasis, bronchitis, and bronchial asthma)
  • Sarcoidosis

With the disease's development, the bulla's diameter can be between 1-10 cm. The larger diameter of the bullae is considered giant, and the location of the bullae changes. These structures can be multiple or single, compressing the surrounding tissues and negatively affecting the oxygen balance in the lungs.

Bullous Lung Disease Symptoms

Various clinical manifestations occur with the development of the disease. Shortness of breath, which develops gradually over time, is an important symptom. Signs such as difficulty breathing, coughing, sputum, and suffocation are among the disease's symptoms.

In the first phase, increasing physical strains occur. In some patients, it does not cause any symptoms, and in some patients, progressive chest pain and shortness of breath are at the forefront. Chest flank pain, leukocytosis, fever, and lung sounds are other symptoms.

Diagnosis of Bullous Lung Disease

It is necessary to consult a specialist physician to diagnose bullous lung diseases. In asymptomatic patients, examinations such as chest X-rays and computed tomography help to diagnose bullous lung diseases.

We can encounter bullous diseases incidentally in the diagnosis or control of COPD disease, pneumothorax, and various diseases. Bullous or bleb structures can occur in pneumothorax patients. In some patients, check-up examinations are also distinctive for the diagnosis of bullous.

This disease is difficult to detect in some patients because it progresses slowly and may be asymptomatic. Usually, the patient gets diagnosed during normal controls. At this stage, a CT scan is essential for more precise detection of bullae.

Bullous Lung Disease Treatment Methods

The goal in treating bullous lung disease is to remove inflammation in the alveoli and regulate the impaired gas exchange process in the lungs.

It is challenging to get rid of the complications of the disease completely. Still, with the treatment started at an early stage, it is possible to prevent the irreversible consequences of the disease. All the measures taken to relieve the symptoms stop the progression of the disease.

Surgical Treatment

The primary treatment method in the treatment of bullous is Surgery. With Surgery, it is possible to normalize the lung volume and bring breathing back to normal. It is more effective to perform the surgical operation in the early period, also preventing the progression. Thus, we can avoid more severe complications before they occur in a shorter time with a higher success rate.

Cutting the chest may not be necessary; instead, a tiny incision. The most commonly used surgical method is VATS (Closed Surgery). In advanced patients, we can apply a heavier operational procedure. In some patients, lung transplantation and removal of the lung are unavoidable.


Drug treatment aims to eliminate the causes that trigger the disease. For this, it is essential to know what causes emphysema.

After the necessary examinations and studies, the physician prescribes the proper drug. There are a wide variety of medications according to the cause, course of the disease, and the patient's symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

Regardless of the treatment method, acquiring healthy habits will accelerate the treatment and allow the patient to recover quickly.

These healthy changes include respiratory gymnastics, fresh air walks, light exercises, and quitting smoking.

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