Purpose: To assess pulmonary abnormalities in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome (PSS) using high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT).
Material and methods: The HRCT scans of 24 patients with the diagnosis PSS were retrospectively reviewed regarding the presence, extension and distribution of 16 pathological findings.
Results: Nineteen patients (79.2%) showed pathological findings and in five patients (21.8%) the HRCT scan was judged to be normal. A predominance of abnormalities in the lower lobes and subpleural areas was detected. The following pathologies were found: bronchiectasis, thin-walled cysts and small pulmonary nodules (46.2%), ground-glass attenuation and emphysema (37.8%), interlobular-septal thickening (29.4%), honeycombing (25.2%), bronchial wall thickening, tree-in-bud pattern (21.0%), mosaic perfusion (16.8%), architectural distortion (12.6%). Airspace consolidation, air trapping, large nodules (10-30mm) and masses (>30mm), mediastinal lymph node enlargement (>15mm) and free pleural fluid were seen each in 4.2%. In 7 of the 11 patients with thin-walled cysts areas of ground-glass attenuation were detected.
Conclusion: HRCT seems is contributive to the characterization of the wide variety of lung abnormalities in PSS. Airway disease alone or in association with the presence of varying degrees of interstitial disease represents the main findings in accordance with earlier reports. Unexpectedly, almost half of the patients had thin-walled cysts on the HRCT scans, which etiology is unclear but could be associated with areas of ground-glass attenuation indicating LIP.