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Ground-glass opacification

Ground-glass opacification/opacity (GGO) is a descriptive term referring to a hazy area of increased attenuation in the lung with preserved bronchial and vascular markings. It is a non-specific sign with a wide aetiology including infection, chronic interstitial disease and acute alveolar disease.



Ground-glass opacities have a broad aetiology:

  • normal expiration
  • partial filling of air spaces
  • partial collapse of alveoli
  • interstitial thickening
  • inflammation
  • oedema
  • fibrosis
  • lepidic proliferation of neoplasm

Differential diagnosis

Broadly speaking, the differential for ground-glass opacification can be split into 5:

  • infectious processes (usually opportunistic)
  • chronic interstitial diseases
  • acute alveolar diseases
  • other causes
Opportunistic infections
Chronic interstitial diseases
Acute alveolar disease
Other causes
Rare causes

See also

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