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Thursday, December 12, 2013
I have pneumonia in one lung presently. Xrays showed calcifications. Are these serious concerns?
Calcifications on chest x-rays are often seen in patients with old granulomas in the lung and are usually not anything to be concerned about. Granulomas are small areas of inflammation in tissue due to injury, such as from an infection or inflammation. Over time, these areas become calcified. They most often occur in the lungs but can occur in other parts of the body as well. They typically cause no signs or symptoms and are often found incidentally on a chest X-ray done for some other reason. The most common cause of calcified granulomas in this area of the country is histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that primarily affects the lungs. Other causes would include pulmonary sarcoidosis, other fungal infections, or old tuberculosis. In these cases, granulomas form at the time of initial infection and then becomes calcified as the patient recovers. In many cases, the patient is asymptomatic and is completely unaware that they have even had the infection until a chest x-ray reveals the calcified granulomas. In most cases, calcifications do not require any specific testing or treatment. If you do not recover fully from your pneumonia, or begin having new symptoms, your physician may decide to do further testing.
Jennifer McCallister, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University