Imaging the 'dirty lung'--has high resolution computed tomography cleared the smoke?

Clin Radiol. 1998 Oct;53(10):717-22. doi: 10.1016/s0009-9260(98)80312-7.


The histopathological abnormalities that characterize cigarette smokers' lung damage have been widely studied, but these microscopic changes do not fully explain the radiographic features that have been loosely termed the 'dirty lung'. High resolution computed tomography is not only more sensitive for the detection of early emphysema, it has also provided the imaging correlates of subtle parenchymal changes of smokers, for example, respiratory bronchiolitis - interstitial lung disease. Nevertheless, some aspects of the radiographic 'dirty lung' remain enigmatic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bronchitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*