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Eur J Radiol. 2010 Jun;74(3):e73-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.04.011. Epub 2009 May 6.

Computed tomographic features of 23 sporadic cases with Legionella pneumophila pneumonia.

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Department of Respiratory Diseases, Shanghai Pneumology Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai, China.



To describe the chest computed tomographic (CT) findings of Legionella pneumophila pneumonia.


CT scans obtained from 23 sporadic cases of L. pneumophila pneumonia were retrospectively reviewed. Chest CT findings were analyzed with regard to the patterns and distributions of pulmonary abnormalities. We also analyzed the histopathology of lungs from guinea pigs with experimentally induced L. pneumophila pneumonia.


Consolidation and ground-glass opacity (GGO) were the main findings of CT scans in L. pneumophila pneumonia. The distribution of opacities was categorized as non-segmental (n=20) and segmental (n=4). Non-segmental distribution may follow an onset of segmental distribution. Pleural effusion was observed in 14 (58.3%) patients, of which 13 were accompanied with non-segmental distribution. Abscess formation was observed in only one immunocompromised patient. In the animal pneumonia model, the lesions comprised of terminal bronchioles, alveolar spaces, and interstitia. Small bacilli were observed to be contained by many macrophages within the alveoli.


Non-segmental distribution was significantly more frequent than segmental distribution in L. pneumophila pneumonia. It is possible that L. pneumophila infection initially results in segmental pneumonia, which progresses to typical non-segmental distribution.

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