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The role of high-resolution computed tomography in the follow-up of diffuse lung disease


High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the lung is a key component of the multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis in diffuse lung disease (DLD). HRCT also plays an important role in the follow-up of patients with established DLD. In this respect, serial HRCT examinations may provide valuable information that cannot be determined from clinical history and other diagnostic tests, such as pulmonary function tests. Important roles of HRCT in this context include assisting in determining prognosis, monitoring for the efficacy of treatment, detecting progression of disease or complications, and evaluating patients with worsening or acute symptoms. Both clinicians and radiologists should be aware of the expected evolution of HRCT changes in a variety of DLDs. The goals of this paper are to discuss: 1) the expected evolution of HRCT findings over time in common DLDs; 2) the role of serial HRCT examinations in formulating an initial diagnosis; and 3) the role of HRCT in the follow-up of patients with known DLD.

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