The authors sought to assess the role of highresolution computed tomography (HRCT) in the detection and follow-up of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) pulmonary infection in immunocompetent patients and to identify the most common radiological patterns for diagnosis. Plain chest radiographs and HRCT scans of 42 consecutive patients with NTM pulmonary infection (M/F 26/16; mean age 57, range 41-83) were retrospectively reviewed. Ten of these patients were followed up for 18 months after diagnosis. Small nodules (< 10 mm), nodules 10- to 30-mm in diameter, lobar/segmental consolidation, cavitations, bronchiectasis and tree-in-bud pattern were analysed. Small nodules were more frequent than nodules 10- to 30-mm in diameter, and segmental consolidation was more frequent than lobar. Cavitations, tree-in-bud and bronchiectasis were more frequently located in the upper lobes. Four of the followed-up patients had cavitation of preexisting nodules, and five had progression of bronchiectasis. HRCT allows accurate detection and followup of the most frequent presentation patterns: diffuse small nodules, bronchiectasis, upper lobe segmental consolidation and cavitations. The appearance of new bronchiectasis and progression of old disease are due to pulmonary infection.
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