What are the similarities of airway tumors and asthma?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

A variety of airway tumors are reported to manifest with symptoms similar to those of asthma. These tumors include endobronchial carcinoid and mucoepidermoid tumors, as shown in the images below. In one case, a 14-year-old boy with hyperlucency in the left lung was ultimately found to have a bronchial carcinoid in the left mainstem bronchus. [48]

Asthma. High-resolution CT scan of the thorax obta Asthma. High-resolution CT scan of the thorax obtained during inspiration in a patient with recurrent left lower lobe pneumonia shows a bronchial mucoepidermoid carcinoma (arrow).
Asthma. High-resolution CT scan of the thorax obta Asthma. High-resolution CT scan of the thorax obtained during expiration in a patient with recurrent left lower lobe pneumonia shows a bronchial mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Note the normal increase in right lung attenuation during expiration (right arrow). The left lung remains lucent, especially the upper lobe, secondary to bronchial obstruction with airtrapping (left upper arrow). The vasculature on the left is diminutive, secondary to reflex vasoconstriction. Left pleural thickening and abnormal linear opacities are noted in the left lower lobe; these are the result of prior episodes of postobstructive pneumonia (left lower arrow).

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