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Aspiration-Related Lung Diseases

Prather, Andrew D. MD*; Smith, Tristan R. MD*; Poletto, Dana M. MD*; Tavora, Fabio MD; Chung, Jonathan H. MD; Nallamshetty, Leelakrishna MD*; Hazelton, Todd R. MD*; Rojas, Carlos A. MD§

doi: 10.1097/RTI.0000000000000092
Pictorial Essay

Aspiration is a common but underrecognized clinicopathologic entity, with varied radiographic manifestations. Aspiration represents a spectrum of diseases, including diffuse aspiration bronchiolitis, aspiration pneumonitis, airway obstruction by foreign body, exogenous lipoid pneumonia, interstitial fibrosis, and aspiration pneumonia with or without lung abscess formation. Many patients who aspirate do not present with disease, suggesting that pathophysiology is related to a variety of factors, including decreased levels of consciousness, dysphagia, impaired mucociliary clearance, composition of aspirate, and impaired host defenses. In this pictorial essay, we will review the different types of aspiration lung diseases, focusing on their imaging features and differential diagnosis.

*Department of Radiology

§Diagnostic Radiology Residency, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, FL

Department of Radiology, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO

Argos Laboratory, Fortaleza, Brazil

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence to: Carlos A. Rojas, MD, Diagnostic Radiology Residency, University of South Florida College of Medicine, 2 Tampa General Circle, STC 7035, Tampa, FL 33606 (e-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins