Imaging of pulmonary fibrosis in children: A review, with proposed diagnostic criteria

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2024 Apr;59(4):845-854. doi: 10.1002/ppul.26857. Epub 2024 Jan 12.


Computed tomography (CT) imaging findings of pulmonary fibrosis are well established for adults and have been shown to correlate with prognosis and outcome. Recognition of fibrotic CT findings in children is more limited. With approved treatments for adult pulmonary fibrosis, it has become critical to define CT criteria for fibrosis in children, to identify patients in need of treatment and those eligible for clinical trials. Understanding how pediatric fibrosis compares with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other causes of fibrosis in adults is increasingly important as these patients transition to adult care teams. Here, we review what is known regarding the features of pulmonary fibrosis in children compared with adults. Pulmonary fibrosis in children may be associated with genetic surfactant dysfunction disorders, autoimmune systemic disorders, and complications after radiation, chemotherapy, transplantation, and other exposures. Rather than a basal-predominant usual interstitial pneumonia pattern with honeycombing, pediatric fibrosis is primarily characterized by reticulation, traction bronchiectasis, architectural distortion, or cystic lucencies/abnormalities. Ground-glass opacities are more frequent in children with fibrotic interstitial lung disease than adults, and disease distribution appears more diffuse, without clearly defined axial or craniocaudal predominance. Following discussion and consensus amongst a panel of expert radiologists, pathologists and physicians, distinctive disease features were integrated to develop criteria for the first global Phase III trial in children with pulmonary fibrosis.

Keywords: ILD; imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases*
  • Bronchiectasis*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods