Cytomegalovirus pulmonary infection

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 11 Oct 2023

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia is a type of viral pneumonitis and occurs due to infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is a member of the Herpetoviridae family.

Cytomegalovirus infection is particularly important in those who are immunocompromised (e.g. those with AIDS, allogeneic bone marrow transplantation recipient 3). In recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantations, the incidence of CMV can be around 20-35% 8

A major biological characteristic of cytomegalovirus (as with other herpes viruses) is its ability to become latent in the human host and therefore the potential for reactivation.

Findings on chest radiographs are usually non-specific.

CT findings are non-specific and diverse and have been described without distinction between AIDS and non-AIDS patients. Commonly described findings include:

  • mixed alveolar-interstitial infiltrative opacification

  • small pulmonary nodules 4,7

    • nodules tend to have bilateral symmetrical distribution and involve all zones 6

  • confluent consolidation 1

    • may be more marked towards the lower lobes 6

  • bronchiectasis 1

  • interstitial reticulation without air space opacification 1,4

Other described features include:

The imaging differential is broad but in the immunosuppressed population consider:

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