Role of high-resolution computed tomography in the detection of early cystic fibrosis lung disease

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2008 Sep;9(3):168-74; quiz 174-5. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2008.05.009. Epub 2008 Jul 29.


High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) has been demonstrated to be sensitive at detecting early lung disease in cystic fibrosis (CF), often before it is apparent clinically. There is emerging evidence that structural changes in the lung occur earlier in life than previously appreciated. Despite this, the role of HRCT in young children with CF has yet to be defined, principally because the repeated exposure of children to X-ray doses several multiples that of a standard chest X-ray raises the concern of the long-term risks of ionizing radiation. With the challenges of acquiring HRCT images in young children in mind, we review scanning protocols and settings specific to young children, and review the best available evidence that describes early structural lung disease in young children with CF. The role of CT scoring and quantitative measures of CF lung disease are reviewed. The challenge for the future is to develop techniques that provide clinically useful information at the lowest possible radiation risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods