Bronchiolitis: A practical approach for the general radiologist

Peter J. Winningham, Santiago Martínez-Jiménez, Melissa L. Rosado-de-Christenson, Sonia L. Betancourt, Carlos S. Restrepo, Andrés Eraso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Radiologists consciously or unconsciously encounter bronchiolitis on images frequently. The purpose of this article is to simplify the concept of bronchiolitis to facilitate the formulation of a succinct and accurate differential diagnosis and suggest potential causes for the imaging findings. Direct and indirect signs of bronchiolitis that are seen on computed tomographic images are detailed. The most common causes of bronchiolitis are covered, including several distinct entities to be considered in specific clinical scenarios. In order of prevalence, the top two causes of bronchiolitis are infection and aspiration. Less common entities include respiratory bronchiolitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which tend to manifest with ground-glass centrilobular nodules. Some types of bronchiolitis affect specific ethnic groups or are associated with a characteristic clinical history. For example, diffuse panbronchiolitis typically affects Japanese subjects. Constrictive bronchiolitis should be considered in lung transplant recipients with ongoing rejection. Given the high frequency of bronchiolitis, radiologists should develop a systematic approach to both cellular and constrictive bronchiolitis. Recognition of specific clinical or imaging characteristics may be sufficient for providing a relevant differential diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-794
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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