What is the role of CT scans in the workup of smoke inhalation injury?

Updated: Oct 15, 2021
  • Author: Keith A Lafferty, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Chest computed tomography (CT) scans may show ground-glass opacities in a peribronchial distribution and/or patchy peribronchial consolidations. These findings may be present on CT scan as early as a few hours after inhalation injury. [43]

A CT scan of the brain may show signs of cerebral infarction due to hypoxia, ischemia, and hypotension. An interesting and well-reported finding for severe CO toxicity is bilateral globus pallidus low-density lesions. These lesions may not appear until several days after the exposure days. This finding is highly specific for CO insult—unlike focal cortical hypoperfusion, which is nonspecific.


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