Some lung diseases can cause ‘inflammation’, a protective response generated by the body in retaliation to damage to tissue caused by injury and illness. It clears away dead cells and starts the repairing process.
Two examples of where inflammation is related to lung disease are:
1. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), where inflammation brought about by infection or injury causes fluid from nearby blood vessels to leak into the tiny air sacs of the lungs. This leads to potentially life-threatening low oxygen levels in the blood, and makes breathing difficult.
2. Pneumonia, as a result of bacterial infection, can lead to inflammation of the tissue in one or both lungs, and may cause fluid to leak into the tiny air sacs.
It is therefore important that clinicians can quickly identify the sites of inflammation in order to treat them effectively.