Fibrosing alveolitis: CT-pathologic correlation

Radiology. 1986 Sep;160(3):585-8. doi: 10.1148/radiology.160.3.3737898.


Computed tomography (CT) was performed within 10 days of open lung biopsy in nine patients with fibrosing alveolitis. One-centimeter collimation contiguous scans through the chest were obtained in all patients. Additional 1.5-mm collimation scans were obtained in the area in which lung biopsy was later performed in six patients. In seven patients, CT demonstrated patchy involvement of the lung parenchyma, areas with a reticular pattern being intermingled with areas of normal lung. The reticular pattern was associated with cystic spaces 2-4 mm in diameter and was more severe in the lung periphery. Histologically, the reticular pattern corresponded to areas of irregular fibrosis. One patient had diffuse honeycombing (2-20-mm cysts), and one had honeycombing only in the lung periphery. In all patients, CT clearly defined the architectural changes seen on open lung biopsy. These changes were much better seen on the 1.5-mm than on the 10-mm collimation scans. CT may be helpful in determining the pattern and distribution of lung involvement in patients with fibrosing alveolitis and in guiding the surgeon to the most appropriate area(s) for biopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonectomy
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / methods