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Pulmonary Complications of Illicit Drug Use: Differential Diagnosis Based on CT Findings

Nguyen, Elsie T. MD; Silva, C. Isabela S. MD, PhD; Souza, Carolina A. MD; Müller, Nestor L. MD, PhD

Journal of Thoracic Imaging: May 2007 - Volume 22 - Issue 2 - pp 199-206
doi: 10.1097/01.rti.0000213567.86408.19
Pictorial Essay

Objective: The aim of this manuscript is to summarize an approach to the differential diagnosis of the pulmonary complications of illicit drug use based on the computed tomography findings.

Conclusions: The various pulmonary complications of illicit drug use result in 5 main patterns of parenchymal abnormality: nodules, ground-glass opacities, consolidation, air trapping, and emphysema. Other thoracic manifestations of illicit drug use include pulmonary arterial hypertension, pneumomediastinum, bacterial endocarditis, discitis, and septic arthritis.

Department of Radiology, Vancouver General Hospital, University of British Columbia, 899 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Reprints: Dr Nestor L. Müller, MD, PhD, Department of Radiology, Vancouver General Hospital, 899 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Z 1M9 (e-mail: nestor.muller@vch.ca).

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.