What is the role of CT scanning in the workup of scleroderma?

Updated: Nov 13, 2018
  • Author: Sergio A Jimenez, MD, MACR, FACP, FRCP(UK Hon); Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

High-resolution computerized tomography (HRCT) scans are required to evaluate pulmonary involvement. [117, 122] HRCT is highly sensitive for revealing pulmonary involvement. Patients with normal initial HRCT findings have a good long-term prognosis.

On HRCT, the first abnormality observed during the development of lung fibrosis is a ground-glass appearance, which occurs in areas of active alveolitis or septal fibrosis. As interstitial fibrosis becomes established, the ground-glass appearance is subsequently replaced by honeycombing and traction bronchiectasis or bronchiolectasis.

HRCT scanning should be performed every 6 months if active alveolitis or interstitial pulmonary fibrosis is present and every year if these abnormalities are not present.

For more information, see Thoracic Scleroderma Imaging.


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