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ct scan

Posts: 31
Joined: May 2009

does anyone know what hypoventilatory change in the dependent portion of the lung bases means?

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007

That's a very specific question (from a scan report?) that you should really address to your doc. My best - non-medical - guess would be something to do with changes in your oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange. Do ask the qualified people, though.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

I am not a doctor or even in the medical field, but a few years ago I bought a medical dictionary(Stedmans) so I could try to figure out some of the outrageous jargon doctors use. Hypoventilation is when the little sacs in the lung that absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide when we breathe become low in oxygen and the carbon dioxide pressure increases. In simplest terms, I think it means you aren't breathing easily and releasing the carbon dioxide like you should when you breathe out. The base of the lung is the bottom part that follows the curve of your diaphrahm. The diaphrahm is the muscle that separates our gut from our chest and helps us breathe in and out. Now that all that is as clear as mud, you might ask a doctor! If he says that it means that the bottom part of the lung he is referring to is no longer expelling carbon dioxide as easily as it used to, then I got it right. Good luck!
C. Abbott

rjjj's picture
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

I have also been very informed by your posts on the BC network. My mom had lung cancer and whenever she got close to the hospital she would start to hyperventilate. I thought she was just in a panic state and she would blow into a paper bag. that was 23 years ago. just wondering?

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

I had a friend that had chemo for breast cancer. Just driving the route to the hospital after the first treatment was enough to start her throwing up---long before the nurses ever got near her. It got so bad that she ended up staying in the hospital between treatments for the last few months of her chemotherapy. Just telling me about the situation was enough to make her turn green (not her normal brown color at all!). Certain smells, sights, and sounds can cause folks to relive bad memories like they were happening all over again. It is the same as soldiers that drop to the ground like they were in the middle of a battle when someone pops the cork on a champagne bottle at the New Year's Eve party. It may not make any sense to an observer, but it is causing a flashback that is altogether too real for the person in question. I have heard of breathing in a paper bag for hyperventilating too. But the previous post mentioned HYPOventilating rather than HYPERventilating. I suspect that an inhaler to open the lung sacs so that they could release the carbon dioxide and absorb oxygen easier, or supplemental oxygen to up the oxygen level might be what the doctors would consider if the person wasn't able to expell carbon dioxide. Breathing training can help some folks too. At least that is what I would ask the doctor about. Please don't try the paper bag approach on someone with HYPOventilation without asking the doctor! I suspect that would concentrate the carbon dioxide even more in the lungs and that wouldn't be good at all. It is not fun to be short of breath whatever the cause. I still remember feeling panicked after surgery and the nurse yelling at me over the phone to calm down. I didn't appreciate the scolding but without it I might have ended back in the hospital. Taking deliberate long breaths helped. Crying and breathing fast made it worse. Sitting up helped. A fan in the face helped. Sometimes a warm shower helps. Sometimes sipping on warm liquids helps. Pulmonologists are lung specialists and folks with lung cancer often see one in addition to all their other doctors. I have one that is helping me breathe better and I'm glad to say that the meds he has prescribed have helped some.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

Anecdote: While at OncoMan's place in the midst of chemotherapy, while waiting for him, I lost my lunch in the room's sink. When I advised OncoMan of this, he suggested 'anticipatory nausea', something I had never heard of. In my case, I responded with incredulity, as I had become an old pro and was not, in fact, having nausea problems with this particular brand of chemo.

But your story about your friend reminded me of that episode, cabbott.

This is a reason why the Onco doc is sometimes reticent, incidentally, to advise us in advance about potential effects: self-fulfilling prophecy, so to speak, a two-edged sword indeed.

Take care,


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