Bronchial diverticula in smokers on thin-section CT

Eur Radiol. 2010 Jan;20(1):88-94. doi: 10.1007/s00330-009-1515-2. Epub 2009 Jul 14.


The objective was to determine the prevalence of bronchial diverticula in smokers on thin-section CT and the relationship to clinical and other morphological features on CT. Thin-section CT images of 503 cigarette smokers were assessed for the profusion and location of diverticula in the major airways. The extent of the bronchial diverticula was recorded as follows: grade 0, none; grade 1, one to three diverticula; grade 2, more than three diverticula. The extent of emphysema, bronchial wall thickness, clinical features, and pulmonary function were compared in the sub-groups stratified according to the extent of bronchial diverticula. A total of 229/503 (45.5%) smokers had bronchial diverticula, with 168/503 (33.3%) and 61/503 (12.2%) having grade 1 and 2 bronchial diverticula respectively. Subjects with grade 2 bronchial diverticula were heavier smokers, reported a history of coughing more frequently, and showed more severe functional impairment, greater extent of emphysema and more severe bronchial wall thickening compared with subjects with grade 1 and those individuals without bronchial diverticula (P < 0.05). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that only bronchial wall thickness predicted the extent of the bronchial diverticula (P < 0.0001). Bronchial diverticula are a frequent finding in the major airways of smokers, and they are associated with other markers of smoking-related damage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bronchial Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bronchial Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Diverticulum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diverticulum / epidemiology*
  • Emphysema / diagnostic imaging*
  • Emphysema / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / statistics & numerical data