A stepwise diagnostic approach to cystic lung diseases for radiologists

Kyu Chong Lee, Eun Young Kang, Hwan Seok Yong, Cherry Kim, Ki Yeol Lee, Sung Ho Hwang, Yu Whan Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Lung cysts are commonly seen on computed tomography (CT), and cystic lung diseases show a wide disease spectrum. Thus, correct diagnosis of cystic lung diseases is a challenge for radiologists. As the first diagnostic step, cysts should be distinguished from cavities, bullae, pneumatocele, emphysema, honeycombing, and cystic bronchiectasis. Second, cysts can be categorized as single/localized versus multiple/diffuse. Solitary/localized cysts include incidental cysts and congenital cystic diseases. Multiple/diffuse cysts can be further categorized according to the presence or absence of associated radiologic findings. Multiple/diffuse cysts without associated findings include lymphangioleiomyomatosis and Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome. Multiple/diffuse cysts may be associated with ground-glass opacity or small nodules. Multiple/diffuse cysts with nodules include Langerhans cell histiocytosis, cystic metastasis, and amyloidosis. Multiple/diffuse cysts with ground-glass opacity include pneumocystis pneumonia, desquamative interstitial pneumonia, and lymphocytic interstitial pneumonia. This stepwise radiologic diagnostic approach can be helpful in reaching a correct diagnosis for various cystic lung diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1368-1380
Number of pages13
JournalKorean journal of radiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept


  • Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome
  • Computed tomography
  • Histiocytosis
  • Langerhans cell
  • Lung diseases
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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