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Lung diseases

Lung Infiltrations

01/20/2011

Question:

Four months ago, I was diagnosed with smoldering myeloma, upped to stage 1 two months ago, and now at stage 3. I saw my family physician last week, and he diagnosed Bronchitis,and took chest x-rays. His office called today, telling me that the technician saw something, possibly an infiltration, on my mid lobe left lung, and is sending me for a CT scan. Could this have been caused by the bronchitis, or am I just having a wishful thinking moment. I already have one battle to fight!

Answer:

Bronchitis is an infection of the airways (windpipes) and generally does not cause any changes on the chest x-ray. Pneumonia is an infection of the lung tissue and can cause infiltrates that can be seen on x-rays. There are many other conditions that can cause infiltrates including scars, atelectasis (airway blockage), cancer, or inflammation. The chest CT scan often shows the lung better than a chest x-ray so that the cause of an infiltrate can sometimes be determined. If an infiltrate is present, then sometimes additional tests (such as bronchoscopy) are needed in order to tell if the infiltrate is due to scar, infection, or cancer spread to the lung.

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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