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Lung diseases

Granules, Nodules, and E. coli in the Lungs

05/24/2010

Question:

My wife has COPD and has had an aching in her chest (right lung area). Two MRI`s later revealed a 7.0mm nodule in the lower left lobe, a 2.6mm calcified granuloma in the upper left lobe,2.0mm nodular density , not calcified in the lower left lobe. There is a 5.0mm ovoid density in the right lower lobe, and a 1.0mm calcified granuloma within the right middle lobe. Now we find out that she has e coli in her lungs.A Bronchoscopy was done two day`s ago, but the results of that won`t be in for another 14 day`s. Can you add some clarity to this whole situation? The wait is driving us absolutely crazy, and we are both very scared.

Answer:

The nodules in people with COPD are relatively common.  The calcified granulomas are related to an old, healed infection and are benign.  The other nodules may also be related to an old infection, but in the absence of calcium, they generally need further evaluation.  This often involves follow-up scanning to make sure they are not increasing in size.  The nodules generally do not cause symptoms.

The e.coli in the lungs is difficult to interpret as it is not a bacteria that commonly causes lung infection.  You should discuss the significance of the e. coli further with your doctor.

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Response by:

Phillip T Diaz, MD Phillip T Diaz, MD
Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University