Aspiration-related lung diseases

J Thorac Imaging. 2014 Sep;29(5):304-9. doi: 10.1097/RTI.0000000000000092.


Aspiration is a common but underrecognized clinicopathologic entity, with varied radiographic manifestations. Aspiration represents a spectrum of diseases, including diffuse aspiration bronchiolitis, aspiration pneumonitis, airway obstruction by foreign body, exogenous lipoid pneumonia, interstitial fibrosis, and aspiration pneumonia with or without lung abscess formation. Many patients who aspirate do not present with disease, suggesting that pathophysiology is related to a variety of factors, including decreased levels of consciousness, dysphagia, impaired mucociliary clearance, composition of aspirate, and impaired host defenses. In this pictorial essay, we will review the different types of aspiration lung diseases, focusing on their imaging features and differential diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / complications
  • Airway Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Bronchiolitis / complications
  • Bronchiolitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Foreign Bodies / complications
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Abscess / complications
  • Lung Abscess / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases / complications
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / complications
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods