Any obstruction of the trachea or subsequent respiratory branches could result in blockage of the airway, thereby limiting the amount of oxygen entering the lungs. However, in the case of a tumor located in the right upper lobe of the lung it could lead to non-productive cough, shortness of breath and wheezing by decreasing the amount of air moving through the bronchioles and into the alveolus for gas exchange. With decreased gas exchange occurring, the aforementioned symptoms would occur by decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the respiratory system. Because the blockage occurred in the right upper lobe, flow of air to subsequent lobes thorough the lobar branches would also be significantly decreased.
If Frank had been suffering from a common upper respiratory tract infection and self-prescribed the expectorant Mucinex, it would have worked to break up the collection of mucus occurring in the bronchioles. The mucus producing cells work to trap foreign and potentially dangerous particles in the lungs. Then, the cilia continually work to move the mucus up and out of the system. However, if a foreign body is detected, the mucus producing cells increase production and the cilia become overwhelmed. Mucinex would work decrease the viscosity of the mucus and thereby increase its flow out of the respiratory system.
In Frank’s case, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Unfortunately, this type of cancer spreads rapidly because it can travel in the blood. Because the lungs are the gas exchange center of the body, red blood cells must filter through the respiratory system and alveoli to recycle their carbon dioxide and inherit oxygen. With every red blood cell taking this path, it greatly increases the opportunity for cancer cells to be picked up in the bloodstream and exported to other parts of the body.
Frank’s doctor used a technique called spirometry to determine Frank’s potential success with surgical options to eliminate the cancer. Spirometry...