Hydatid cyst of the lung: diagnosis and treatment

World J Surg. 2001 Jan;25(1):46-57. doi: 10.1007/s002680020007.


Hydatid infestation of the lung can be primary or secondary. In three of four cases the cyst is a single one. Hydatidosis of a different location, particularly the liver, may be associated. The period of initial growth of primary hydatidosis is frequently asymptomatic. Bronchial fistulization is an important event in the evolution of the cyst. Intrapleural rupture constitutes a rare eventuality, but it is often as characteristic as it is severe. Secondary, metastatic hydatidosis, due to breaking of a primary visceral cyst in a vein or heart, is rare. A special form is so-called multiple malignant pulmonary hydatidosis, which causes progressive respiratory deficiency and right ventricular failure. There are a variety of radiographic images. Ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging can recognize certain details of the lesions and discover others that are not visible by conventional radiography. For a specific serologic diagnosis, our experience favors the immunoglobulin G enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoelectrophoresis. Treatment is essentially surgical. In general, chemotherapy is used as a complement to operative treatment to avoid recurrence. Surgery has two objectives: to remove the parasite and to treat the bronchipericyst pathology and other associated lesions. The prognosis has changed during the last few years, and results are now commonly satisfactory. The most frequent complications are pleural infection and prolonged air leakage. Operative mortality does not exceed 1% to 2%. Despite the low mortality and the limited recurrence rate, it is necessary to remember the invading character of pulmonary hydatid disease, which sometimes makes therapy difficult and questionable. Prophylaxis is essential to eradicate the disease completely.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / analysis
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Echinococcosis, Pulmonary / therapy*
  • Echinococcus / immunology
  • Echinococcus / pathogenicity
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunoelectrophoresis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography


  • Antibodies, Helminth