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Acta Radiol. 1999 Nov;40(6):578-84.

Bronchopulmonary arterial anastomosis at the precapillary level in human lung. Visualization using CT angiography compared with microangiography of autopsied lung.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.



To investigate the interrelationships between the bronchial and pulmonary circulations including the existence of precapillary bronchopulmonary arterial anastomoses.


CT of bronchial arteriography (BAG-CT) was performed in 10 patients and BAG-CT during a pulmonary artery block test (PA-block) in 5 patients with lung cancer. Bronchial and pulmonary circulations were evaluated in 5 autopsied normal lungs by injecting silicone rubber with different colors into the bronchial and pulmonary arteries.


BAG-CT correlated well with the findings at silicone rubber injection into lung autopsy samples. BAG-CT demonstrated inflow of contrast medium into the pulmonary artery during PA-block in all cases, while no inflow was observed before and following reversal of PA-block. Mixed silicone rubber was observed in the lobar to subsubsegmental bronchial arteries in all cases and in the subsubsegmental pulmonary artery in one case.


Precapillary bronchopulmonary arterial anastomoses may exist at the level of the lobar bronchi to the periphery. If either the pulmonary or bronchial circulation is disturbed, flow occurs inside the anastomoses to supplement the other flow, especially flow from the bronchial to the pulmonary arteries via the anastomoses, which occurs within 30 min.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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