A 78-year-old male was referred to the hospital for a detailed chest examination after an anomaly was seen in the chest radiography that he underwent for screening. A CT of the thorax was ordered to further check the patient’s lungs.
The CT images clearly revealed a ground glass opacity (GGO) of increased attenuation in the upper lobe of the right lung. GGO is defined as hazy, increased attenuation of the lung, but with preservation of bronchial and vascular margins, i.e. caused by partial filling of air. The GGO had an irregular shape and measured about 12×12 mm. The bronchi and arteries could clearly be seen, as well as a slightly pulled-in area of the visceral pleura. Small nodules were also seen in the peripheral right middle lobe, but their size was too small to make a confident diagnosis. Neither lymph node enlargement nor pleural effusion could be detected. Lung cancer was suspected. The patient was referred to a hospital specialized in cancer treatment.
The patient experienced no discomfort during the CT scan. Images were ready and of excellent quality soon after the scan. GGO was clearly seen and a diagnosis could be forwarded to the referring hospital. The diagnosis of primary lung cancer was confirmed at the referred hospital and the patient underwent surgery.
- JH Austin, Glossary of terms for CT of the lung: recommendations of the Nomenclature Committee of the Fleischner Society, Radiology August 2996 200:327–331