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Lung. 2015 Apr;193(2):283-90. doi: 10.1007/s00408-015-9700-3. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Aging of the lungs in asymptomatic lifelong nonsmokers: findings on HRCT.

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Pulmonary division, Instituto do Coração da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil,



To report lung parenchymal findings on high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) in a population of asymptomatic, never-smoker urban dwellers aged 65 years and older.


After institutional approval, asymptomatic older patients from the Geriatrics Outpatient Clinic aged 65 years and older (older group) and healthy volunteers aged 30-50 years (younger group) were invited to participate in the study. Asymptomatic, never-smoker subjects considered free of relevant disease after spirometry and echocardiography underwent chest HRCT. Three researchers reviewed every scan, noting the absence/presence and distribution of pre-specified parenchymal findings. Statistical comparisons between groups were performed using appropriate tests with the aid of software.


Forty-seven older and 24 younger subjects were included in this analysis. A higher proportion of women and a longer history of urban dwelling were present in the older group. Parenchymal findings were more prevalent in the older group (78.7 vs. 25% in the younger group; p < 0.001). Parenchymal bands (59.6 vs. 25%; p = 0.007), ground-glass opacities (25.5 vs. 0%; p = 0.006), and septal lines (21.3 vs. 0%; p = 0.013) were more prevalent in the elderly. When only subjects aged 75 years and older were considered as the older group, micronodules, reticular opacities, cysts, and bronchiectases (19.1 vs. 0 % for all comparisons; p = 0.04) were also more frequently found among the elderly.


Parenchymal bands, ground-glass opacities, septal lines, bronchiectasis, micronodules, reticular opacities, and lung cysts were more prevalent among the elderly.

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