BACKGROUND : Lung volume reduction can be effective in appropriately selected patients with severe emphysema and is associated with reduced breathlessness and improved survival. Spontaneous resolution of emphysematous bullae can also sometimes occur. METHODS : We report a case of severe smoking-related emphysema in a 60-year-old patient, who presented in October 2013 with a right upper lobe acute community-acquired pneumonia on the background of previously undocumented emphysema. The patient improved following treatment with co-amoxiclav and serial radiology showed progressive cicatricial retraction. Nine months later there had been a major functional improvement characterized by a complete normalization of the patient's ventilatory parameters, specifically a 45% improvement in FEV1. In the literature, the average FEV1 improvement obtained by surgical or endoscopic lung volume reduction techniques does not exceed 28%. CONCLUSIONS : Rarely, emphysematous bullae resolve following infections. Further studies of the mechanisms involved in these natural regressions may be of interest in the development of new therapeutics.