Significance of ground-glass opacity on HRCT in long-term follow-up of patients with systemic sclerosis

J Thorac Imaging. 2007 May;22(2):120-4. doi: 10.1097/01.rti.0000213572.16904.40.


Despite little supportive evidence, ground-glass opacity at high-resolution computed tomography, without other signs of fibrosis, has been equated with potentially reversible disease, and in systemic sclerosis, frequently prompts aggressive anti-inflammatory treatment to prevent pulmonary fibrosis. Our study evaluates ground-glass opacity on sequential high-resolution computed tomography in 41 patients with systemic sclerosis over a mean follow-up period of 27 months (r6 to 60 mo). Ground-glass opacity was the most common imaging finding, present in 66%, and usually associated with other signs of interstitial disease, including nonfibrotic interstitial opacities in 27% and fibrotic interstitial opacities in 32%. Improvement was only documented in 2(5%) patients with ground glass and nonfibrotic interstitial opacities. In systemic sclerosis, ground-glass opacity is most commonly associated with irreversible disease. Disease progression or improvement could not be predicted by the presence of ground-glass opacity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / diagnosis*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / diagnostic imaging
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time*
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed / methods*