Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. MRI, CT, and plain radiographic findings and their contribution for early diagnosis

Chest. 1994 Oct;106(4):1156-61. doi: 10.1378/chest.106.4.1156.


A prospective study was conducted in 38 patients with nodular lesions on plain chest radiographs and the clinical suspicion of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) to assess the diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). For early diagnosis of IPA (clinical signs and symptoms < 10 days), CT scans with demonstration of the halo sign had a high sensitivity (16/22) and specificity (8/8). Magnetic resonance imaging performed at the same time revealed a relatively higher sensitivity (22/22), but a very poor specificity (0/8). Gadolinium-diethylene-triamine-pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA) enhanced images did not improve specificity. In the later course of infection (clinical signs and symptoms > 10 days), MRIs showed typical nodular target-like lesions with Gd-DTPA enhancement of the rim area that was not seen in the early course of the disease or in patients with Pseudomonas or staphylococcal infection. In conclusion, MRI findings are not as characteristic as the CT halo sign in diagnosing IPA in the early course of the disease, but the MRI target sign with Gd-DTPA enhancement of the rim area and the "reverse target" on T2-weighted images are strongly suggestive of IPA at a later stage of the disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillosis / diagnosis*
  • Aspergillosis / epidemiology
  • Aspergillosis / immunology
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / immunology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Gadolinium DTPA