Obscure pulmonary masses: bronchial impaction revealed by CT

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1983 Nov;141(5):909-14. doi: 10.2214/ajr.141.5.909.


Dilated bronchi impacted with mucus or tumor are recognized on standard chest radiographs because they are surrounded by aerated pulmonary parenchyma. When imaged in different projections, these lesions produce a variety of appearances that are generally familiar. This report characterizes less familiar computed tomographic (CT) findings in eight patients with pathologic bronchial distension of congenital, neoplastic, or infectious etiologies and correlates them with chest films. In seven patients, CT readily revealed dilated bronchi and/or regional lung hypodensity. In four of these cases, CT led to the initial suspicion of dilated bronchi. CT should be used early in the evaluation of atypical pulmonary mass lesions or to confirm suspected bronchial impaction because of the high probability it will reveal diagnostic features.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bronchi / abnormalities
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bronchiectasis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bronchography*
  • Carcinoid Tumor / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucocele / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*