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PLoS One. 2017 Oct 2;12(10):e0185774. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185774. eCollection 2017.

Natural course of the nodular bronchiectatic form of Mycobacterium Avium complex lung disease: Long-term radiologic change without treatment.

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Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Chung-Ang University, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Radiology, Chung-Ang University Hospital, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Applied Statistics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea.



Although the incidence of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) lung disease is increasing, the long-term natural course of the nodular bronchiectatic form of MAC lung disease is not well described. The objective of our study is to evaluate long-term radiologic changes in untreated MAC lung disease by analyzing serial chest computed tomography (CT) scan findings.


Of 104 patients with MAC lung disease, we selected 40 untreated nodular bronchiectatic MAC patients who underwent serial chest CTs without treatment for at least four years (mean = 6.23 years). Majority of patients have minimal symptoms. Two chest radiologists retrospectively reviewed initial and final chest CT scans. Each chest CT scan was scored for presence and extent of bronchiectasis, cellular bronchiolitis, consolidation, cavity, and nodule (maximum score: 30).


Of 40 patients, 39 (97.5%) experienced a significant increase in overall CT score (overall difference = 4.89, p<0.001). On repeated measure analysis of variance analysis, cavity yielded the largest increase compared with cellular bronchiolitis (p = 0.013), nodule (p<0.001), and consolidation (p = 0.004). However, there was no significant difference in mean score change between cavity and bronchiectasis (p = 0.073). In analysis between radiologic parameters and the absolute number of involved segments, bronchiectasis showed most significant change compared with nodule (p<0.001) and consolidation (p<0.001).


Most untreated nodular bronchiectatic MAC lung disease cases showed radiologic deterioration over long-term observation periods when we compared serial chest CT scans. Careful monitoring of MAC lung disease with serial chest CT scan can be beneficial in these untreated patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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