Septic pulmonary emboli: CT-radiographic correlation

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1989 Jul;153(1):41-5. doi: 10.2214/ajr.153.1.41.


Radiographic and CT findings in 15 patients with clinically documented septic pulmonary emboli were compared retrospectively. In most cases, radiographic changes were nonspecific. In comparison, on CT a combination of specific signs could be identified in all patients. These included peripheral nodules with clearly identifiable feeding vessels associated with metastatic lung abscesses (10 [67%] of 15 cases), and subpleural, wedge-shaped densities with and without necrosis caused by septic infarcts (11 [73%] of 15 cases). Ancillary pleural, mediastinal, axillary, and pericardial abnormalities also were more easily identified with CT. We conclude that CT is complementary to other imaging techniques in the recognition of septic pulmonary emboli.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*