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.