Subacute and chronic bird breeder hypersensitivity pneumonitis: sequential evaluation with CT and correlation with lung function tests and bronchoalveolar lavage

Radiology. 1993 Oct;189(1):111-8. doi: 10.1148/radiology.189.1.8372179.


Purpose: To evaluate lung involvement in the subacute (group 1) and chronic (group 2) stages of bird breeder hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Materials and methods: Computed tomographic (CT) findings in 45 patients were correlated with pulmonary function testing and bronchoalveolar lavage. Twenty-seven patients underwent sequential CT examination 0.3-4 years apart, with functional evaluation in 20 of them.

Results: In group 1, CT showed diffuse micronodules, ground-glass attenuation, focal air trapping or emphysema, and mild fibrotic changes, with normal lung volumes but impaired diffusing capacity and a predominant lymphocyte alveolitis. In group 2, two categories of chronic forms were identified at CT on the basis of presence or absence of honeycombing. After cessation of exposure, CT showed a return to normal or dramatic improvement in group 1 and considerable reduction in ground-glass attenuation and micronodules in group 2. CT depicted no fibrotic or emphysematous changes during follow-up.

Conclusion: Subacute bird breeder hypersensitivity pneumonitis may share CT features with other types of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. CT may help in identification of emphysematous and fibrotic forms of chronic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bird Fancier's Lung / diagnosis*
  • Bird Fancier's Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bird Fancier's Lung / pathology
  • Bird Fancier's Lung / physiopathology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / pathology*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity / physiology
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Respiratory Function Tests*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / methods
  • Total Lung Capacity / physiology
  • Vital Capacity / physiology


  • Carbon Dioxide