AJR. American journal of roentgenology vol:158 issue:6 pages:1211-5
To determine the importance of chest CT findings in patients with Swyer-James syndrome (unilateral small lung with air trapping) and to compare these findings with those on chest radiographs and scintigrams, we reviewed the CT scans, chest radiographs, and scintigrams of eight patients with the syndrome. Radiographs showed unilateral hyperlucency in seven patients and bilateral asymmetric hyperlucency in one. CT showed that the hyperlucency was unilateral in only three and that hyperlucency in one. CT showed that the hyperlucency was unilateral in only three and that hyperlucent regions on radiographs contained patches of normal lung attenuation in five patients. Conversely, in four patients, CT also showed small hyperlucencies in regions considered normal on radiographs. These lucencies usually had poorly defined margins and irregular shapes (five patients), but sometimes were peripheral, wedge shaped, and sharply demarcated (two patients). CT also showed subtle abnormalities not visible on radionuclide scans in two patients. Air trapping in hyperlucent regions was confirmed by a lack of change in volume on expiratory CT scans in five cases. Bronchiectasis was found in only three patients. CT helps to exclude central bronchial obstruction, cysts, and vascular disease as causes of hyperlucency. By excluding central obstruction, CT may make bronchoscopy unnecessary in some patients. CT is more sensitive than radiographs and radionuclide scans in detecting hyperlucent regions and in showing their distribution. Our experience suggests that bronchiectasis is not a necessary component of the Swyer-James syndrome.