Chest imaging findings of chronic respiratory disease in HIV-infected adolescents on combined anti retro viral therapy

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2021 Jun:38:16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2020.06.022. Epub 2020 Sep 26.


Early treatment with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has improved survival of children perinatally infected with HIV into adolescence. This population is at risk of long term complications related to HIV infection, particularly chronic respiratory disease. Limited data on chest imaging findings in HIV-infected adolescents, suggest that the predominant disease is of small and large airways: predominantly bronchiolitis obliterans or bronchiectasis. Single cases of emphysema have been reported. Lung fibrosis, lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis, post tuberculous apical fibrocystic changes and malignancies do not feature in this population. Chest radiograph (CXR) is easily accessible and widely used, especially in resource limited settings, such as sub Saharan Africa, where the greatest burden of HIV disease occurs. Lung ultrasound has been described for the diagnosis of pneumonia in children, pulmonary oedema and interstitial lung disease [1-3]. The use of this modality in chronic respiratory disease in adolescents where the predominant finding is small airway disease and bronchiectasis has however not been described. CXR is useful to evaluate structural/post infective changes, parenchymal opacification and nodules, hyperinflation or extensive bronchiectasis. CXR however, is inadequate for diagnosing small airway disease, for which high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is the modality of choice. Where available, low dose HRCT should be used early in the course of symptomatic disease in adolescents and for follow up in children who are non responsive to treatment or clinically deteriorating. This article provides a pictorial review of the spectrum of CXR and HRCT imaging findings of chronic pulmonary disease in perinatally HIV-infected adolescents on cART and guidelines for imaging.

Keywords: Adolescents; Chest imaging; Combined anti retroviral therapy; HIV; cART.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bronchiectasis*
  • Child
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / diagnostic imaging
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive*