Pulmonary cavity and pneumatocele (illustrations)

Case contributed by Francisco Calle
Diagnosis not applicable

Diagrams depicting the pathology of pulmonary cavity and pneumatocele. 

Case Discussion

Pulmonary cavity and pneumatocele - key learning points

  • Pulmonary cavity and pneumatocele are gas-filled spaces within the pulmonary parenchyma. Although similiar, they represent different stages of pulmonary tissue repair as well as different causes. 
  • Pulmonary consolidation, masses or nodules may undergo tissue necrosis. The necrotic debris is drained through the airways leaving a thick-walled gas-filled lesion known as cavity. 
  • Overtime the walls of the gas-filled lesion become thinner and the shape of the lesion becomes more rounded. The lesion is now denominated pneumatocele. 
  • Control studies may show resolution of the pneumatocele with normal appearance of the pulmonary parenchyma.
  • Pneumatoceles may also arise from trauma or hydrocarbon aspiration. 

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