In experimental models pulmonary emphysema may be produced in hours to days; however, in human subjects emphysema commonly develops over a period of many years. In this report we document a case of severe emphysema which developed in less than six months in association with an unexplained illness characterized by dyspnea, hypoxemia and bilateral lung parenchymal disease. There was no hereditary predisposition. The diffuse alveolar injury syndrome must be considered as a potential cause of alveolar disruption.
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