Congenital lobar emphysema, also called infantile lobar emphysema, is a respiratory disease that occurs in infants when air enters the lungs but cannot leave easily. The lungs become over-inflated, causing respiratory function to decrease and air to leak out into the space around the lungs.
Symptoms of congenital lobar emphysema include: * shortness of breath * wheezing * lips and fingernail beds that have a bluish tinge
The cause of congenital lobar emphysema often cannot be identified. The airway may be obstructed or the infant's lungs may not have developed properly. Congenital lobar emphysema is almost never of genetic origin.
Congenital lobar emphysema cannot be prevented.
Congenital lobar emphysema is usually identified within the first two weeks of the infant's life. It is diagnosed by respiratory symptoms and a chest x ray, which shows the over-inflation of the affected lobe and may show a blocked air passage.
Surgery for congenital lobar emphysema has excellent results.
For infants with no, mild, or intermittent symptoms, no treatment is necessary. For more serious cases of congenital lobar emphysema, surgery is necessary, usually a lobectomy to remove the affected lung lobe.