Emphysema Chapter Overview

Jennifer Kong

Chapter Learning Objectives

At the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Describe the pathophysiology of emphysema as a consequence of chronic injury and inflammation.
  • Identify key histological features associated with emphysema.
  • Outline expected clinical changes in a patient in response to remodelling, loss of alveolar tissue  & lung elasticity.


This chapter is about emphysema, a condition that is under the umbrella term of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Emphysema is chronic condition of continuous lung injury and inflammation which will progressively worsen with no known cure.  Thus, it takes many health care providers working collaboratively to manage an emphysema patient during the exacerbations and progression of their disease.

This chapter is subdivided into:

  • Pre-test
  • Normal lung anatomy and histology
  • Normal physiology of breathing
  • Inflammation and Tissue remodeling
  • Pathophysiology and histopathology of emphysema
  • Interview with health care professionals diagnosing/treating those with emphysema and its complications
    • Medical Radiographer (Computerized tomography)
    • Nurse
  • Case study of a patient experiencing exacerbation with COPD and her patient journey and interactions with health care professionals
  • Post-test


The following abbreviations are used throughout the chapter.

AAT Alpha-1-Antitrypsin
COPD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
CPAP Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
CT Computed Tomography
DRG Dorsal Respiratory Group
ERV Expiratory Reserve Volume
FRC Functional Residual Capacity
HRVC Human Rhinovirus C
IC Inspiratory Capacity
IFN- γ Interferon-γ
IL-1 Interleukin-1
IRV Inspiratory Reserve Volume
LPS Lipopolysaccharide
Palv Intra-alveolar Pressure
Patm Atmospheric Pressure
PGE2 Prostaglandin E2
Pip Intrapleural Pressure
PRG Pontine Respiratory Group
PRRs Pattern Recognition Receptor
RV Residual Volume
TLC Total Lung Capacity
TNF Tumour Necrosis Factor
TV Tidal Volume
VC Vital Capacity
VRG Ventral Respiratory Group




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Pathology Copyright © 2022 by Jennifer Kong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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