A stepwise diagnostic approach to cystic lung diseases for radiologists

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Lung cysts are commonly seen on computed tomography (CT), and cystic lung diseases show a wide disease spectrum. Thus, correct diagnosis of cystic lung diseases is a challenge for radiologists. As the first diagnostic step, cysts should be distinguished from cavities, bullae, pneumatocele, emphysema, honeycombing, and cystic bronchiectasis. Second, cysts can be categorized as single/localized versus multiple/diffuse. Solitary/localized cysts include incidental cysts and congenital cystic diseases. Multiple/diffuse cysts can be further categorized according to the presence or absence of associated radiologic findings. Multiple/diffuse cysts without associated findings include lymphangioleiomyomatosis and Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome. Multiple/diffuse cysts may be associated with ground-glass opacity or small nodules. Multiple/diffuse cysts with nodules include Langerhans cell histiocytosis, cystic metastasis, and amyloidosis. Multiple/diffuse cysts with ground-glass opacity include pneumocystis pneumonia, desquamative interstitial pneumonia, and lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia. This stepwise radiologic diagnostic approach can be helpful in reaching a correct diagnosis for various cystic lung diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1368-1380
Number of pages13
JournalKorean journal of radiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep


  • Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome
  • Computed tomography
  • Histiocytosis
  • Langerhans cell
  • Lung diseases
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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