Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis: high-resolution CT, chest radiographic, and functional correlations

Chest. 1997 Apr;111(4):989-95. doi: 10.1378/chest.111.4.989.


Study objective: To determine whether a correlation exists between pulmonary function and both frontal chest radiographs and high-resolution chest CT findings in patients with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP).

Design: Retrospective review of radiographic and clinical data.

Setting: Tertiary referral hospital.

Patients: Seven patients with PAP were studied on 25 occasions using high-resolution chest CT (n=21), frontal chest radiographs (n=19), and pulmonary function tests (PFTs) (n=25).

Measurements and results: Visual estimates of the extent, degree, and overall severity of parenchymal abnormalities were determined for plain radiographs and high-resolution chest CT, and were correlated with PFTs. With high-resolution CT, the extent and severity of ground-glass opacity correlated significantly with the presence of a restrictive ventilatory defect, reduced diffusing capacity, and hypoxemia. Chest radiographic findings also correlated significantly with restrictive ventilatory defect, diffusing capacity, and hypoxemia.

Conclusion: In patients with PAP, although high-resolution CT correlates more closely with pulmonary function, plain radiographs should be sufficient for follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / therapy
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity
  • Radiography, Thoracic*
  • Respiratory Function Tests*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*