Broncholithiasis

Broncholithiasis is a term given for the presence of calcified or ossified material within the lumen of the bronchus.

A broncholith is usually formed by erosion by and extrusion of a calcified adjacent lymph node into the bronchial lumen and is usually associated with long-standing foci of necrotizing granulomatous lymphadenitis. Other causes of broncholithiasis include 

  • aspiration of bone tissue or in situ calcification of aspirated foreign material
  • erosion by and extrusion of calcified or ossified bronchial cartilage plates
  • migration to a bronchus of calcified material from a distant site, e.g. pleural plaque or the from the kidney (nephrobronchial fistula)

In some cases they may be left alone while in other cases, they can be removed safely by rigid bronchoscopy with the aid of Nd-YAG laser photocoagulation 9.

Imaging differential considerations include 4

  • endobronchial infections with calcified fungus ball: aspergilloma
  • calcified endobronchial tumours
  • tracheobronchial diseases with mural calcification: most commonly tracheobronchial amyloidosis
  • hypertrophied bronchial artery with intraluminal protrusion
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Article Information

rID: 24032
System: Chest
Section: Pathology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Broncholiths
  • Broncholith

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