Prenatal imaging and postnatal presentation, diagnosis and management of congenital lung malformations

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Purpose of reviewCongenital lung malformations (CLMs) vary in their clinical presentation and severity. Increases in prenatal diagnosis, observed regression of certain lesions, and prognostic uncertainty are driving an evolution in management.Recent findingsThere has been an increase in the early diagnosis of these malformations, a change that is attributable to the routine use of prenatal ultrasound. Although prenatal diagnosis of CLMs using ultrasound and MRI has increased, chest radiography and computed tomography still play important roles in diagnosis. The management of these lesions depends on the type of malformation and symptoms. The treatment of asymptomatic patients with lung malformations is controversial, because the prognosis of these lesions is largely unknown. Proponents of early intervention argue that the complications of CLM, which may include infection, pneumothorax, bleeding and malignant transformation, justify surgery. Advocates of conservative management note that some CLMs disappear postnatally, and that the long-term complication rate following surgery is unknown. There is a need to obtain natural history data regardless of the therapeutic recommendations.SummaryThis article reviews the prenatal radiographic features and postnatal clinical findings of various CLMs and the dilemmas regarding treatment.

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