- A subcategory of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The disease is characterized by anatomic alterations of the lungs, such as the enlargement of airspaces and destruction of alveolar walls.
Definition from: MeSH via Unified Medical Language System at the National Library of Medicine
- Pulmonary emphysema is a disorder affecting the alveoli (tiny air sacs) of the lungs. The transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs takes place in the walls of the alveoli. In emphysema, the alveoli become abnormally inflated, damaging their walls and making it harder to breathe. People who smoke or have chronic bronchitis have an increased risk of emphysema.
National Cancer Institute
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.