CT Features of Cystic Lung Disease: Common and Rare Entities

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The purpose of this presentation is to educate the viewer about radiographic findings of cystic lung disease, including common and rare clinical and radiological presentations. CT scans of the chest are commonly performed to aid in the diagnosis of or incidentally detect cystic lung disease. Lung cysts are defined on CT as thin-walled (< 2–3 mm), rounded parenchymal lucent or low internal attenuation lesions. When combined with the clinical presentation, unique imaging characteristics of cystic lung diseases on CT can lead the radiologist to confidently differentiate between cystic lung diseases with overlapping imaging features. Building an accurate and complete differential diagnosis can aid in guiding therapy and preventing additional unnecessary work-up.

Educational Goals / Teaching Points
This exhibit aims to review common pathologies under the umbrella of cystic lung disease and discuss CT imaging findings of rare causes of cystic lung disease, including amyloid and metastatic causes.

Key Anatomic/Physiologic Issues and Imaging Findings/Techniques
This presentation will include approximately 15–20 presentations of cystic lung disease and their distinguishing factors on CT scans of the chest. Cases will include pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, Birt-Hogg- Dubé syndrome, lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia, amyloidosis, PJP pneumonia, cystic primary lung cancer, cystic pulmonary metastasis disease, CPAM, and pneumatoceles.

There are numerous presentations of cystic lung disease, all of which have unique radiological findings corresponding to their clinical presentations. Radiologists must be aware of both common and uncommon presentations of cystic lung disease, which can guide therapy effectively. Correct identification of these atypical causes, and a sound knowledge of unique and overlapping imaging factors can potentially guide early treatment and result in improved patient outcomes.