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Lung diseases

Calcified Lymph Nodes in the Lungs

04/27/2010

Question:

My sister just had a chest xray and the doctor said she has calsified lymph nodes in her lungs. She coughs a lot and almost all the time in the winter. Where can I find out more information?

Answer:

Calcified lymph nodes in the lung are lymph nodes that over time build up calcium deposits in them and are usually due to previous infection, such as histoplasmosis or tuberculosis. They are very common, especially in parts of the United States where the yeast, histoplasmosis, lives in the soil and gets into the air that people breath. Usually, these calcified lymph nodes cause no respiratory symptoms, but rarely they can protrude into the windpipe and cause a "broncholith" that can cause cough. However, given how common calcified lymph nodes are in the general population, it is also possible that they are an innocent bystander and that the cause of the cough could be due to another condition such as asthma, acid reflux, medication side effect, or sinus drainage.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University