Small-vessel diseases of the lung: CT-pathologic correlates

Radiology. 2002 Dec;225(3):639-53. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2253011490.


Diseases that primarily affect the small vessels of the lung are difficult to diagnose. Many conditions are characterized by involvement of small pulmonary vessels, and pathologically they can be conveniently divided into occluding and inflammatory types. The former, typified by chronic pulmonary thromboembolism and primary pulmonary hypertension, are relatively cryptic in terms of imaging. In contrast, inflammatory vasculitides, which often cause pulmonary hemorrhage and infarction, result in florid but nonspecific radiographic abnormalities. The spectrum of thin-section computed tomographic abnormalities encountered in the inflammatory vasculitides is wide: For example, in Wegener granulomatosis the pattern ranges from cavitating nodules to lobar consolidation to ground-glass opacity. This review highlights some of the less obvious imaging manifestations of occlusive and inflammatory diseases of the small pulmonary vessels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / diagnostic imaging
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / pathology
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Lung / blood supply*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / pathology
  • Pulmonary Veins / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Vascular Diseases / pathology*