Mucoid impaction (lung)

Mucoid impaction (or mucus plugging) can be a commonly encountered pathological feature seen in chest radiography and thoracic CT scanning. It is usually defined as airway filling by mucoid secretions and can be obstructive or nonobstructive. 

Mucoid impaction can occur in either normal or abnormal airways. It can result from a variety of underlying congenital as well as acquired conditions:


The radiographic appearance can be variable dependent on where the mucus plugging occurs.

The classic feature seen when plugged mucus extends along large branching airways is the finger in glove sign.

Two key additional features can occur

  • distal lung collapse: from impairment in aeration
  • distal airway dilatation: due to progressive mucus accumulation

Prolonged mucus plugging can lead to bronchial dilatation and bronchiectasis.

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Article Information

rID: 31519
System: Chest
Section: Gamuts
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Mucus plugging
  • Endoluminal mucus plugging
  • Impacted inspissated secretions plugging
  • Mucoid impactions
  • Mucoid impaction

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Cases and Figures

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    Case 1: in left lower lobe bronchi
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    Case 2: in right lower lobe on plain film
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