Tracheal Involvement in Wegener's Granulomatosis: Evaluation Using Spiral CT

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Abstract

Objective:

To describe the computed tomography (CT) appearances of tracheal stenosis in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) and to assess the additional value of reformatted images.

Patients and Methods:

Ten patients with tracheal involvement by WG were assessed with spiral CT and both coronal and three-dimensional surface shaded images were generated. Fibreoptic bronchoscopy was also performed in all patients.

Results:

Ninety per cent of lesions were situated in the subglottic region. In all cases there was circumferential mucosal thickening, in nine cases extending over a relatively short distance (mean 2.4 cm). The degree of narrowing of the axial luminal diameter ranged from 23% to 100%. In three patients there was contiguous involvement of the vocal cords evident on CT, two further cases with mild vocal cord inflammation were identified bronchoscopically. Other CT findings included mucosal irregularity and ulceration (50%), and involvement of the tracheal cartilages (20%).

Conclusion:

Wegener's granulomatosis may involve the trachea with resultant stenosis. Spiral CT is an easily performed, non-invasive technique which provides accurate assessment of tracheal lesions and is complementary to bronchoscopy. The main additional advantage of coronal reformatted images was our added confidence in defining the upper and lower limits of lesions and in the evaluation of vocal cord involvement.

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