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Lung diseases

Calcified nodule

02/19/2008

Question:

I`m a 43 year old female and have recently been diagnosed with carotidynia. This diagnosis was made after having a CT scan of a lump, with palpitation, in my neck and severe pain.

The CT also revealed that I have "calcified nodules withing the right apex". It also states "promient azygos arch". It says that the actual largest lymph node on the right side is 5MM and on the left its 6MM and that they do not appear to be pathologically enlarged.

My ENT has said that he doesn`t think there is anything to worry about with these other findings. I however, want to make sure. I tried looking up for myself on the internet, but found you instead.

Can you please make sense of this for me?

Answer:

There are several patterns of calcification within lung nodules that indicates they are benign (not cancer). These include diffuse (throughout the nodule), "popcorn", and lamellar (layers of calcification) calcification. For most people living in the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys these are due to scarring from an old, often symptom-less, infection with a fungus called Histoplasmosis. Other infections, such as TB, can also cause calcified nodules. Without seeing the CT scan, it is difficult to comment about the characteristics of your nodules. The prominent azygous arch is a variation of normal anatomy that occurs in a minority of people but is of no consequence. The lymph nodes do not meet radiologic criteria for being called abnormal - meaning we usually don't call them abnormal until they are at least 10mm.

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Response by:

James M O'Brien, Jr, MD James M O'Brien, Jr, MD
Former Associate Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University