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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Medical Imaging 1/2019

Potential role of CT-textural features for differentiation between viral interstitial pneumonias, pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia and diffuse alveolar hemorrhage in early stages of disease: a proof of principle

BMC Medical Imaging > Ausgabe 1/2019
Christopher Kloth, Wolfgang Maximilian Thaiss, Robert Beck, Michael Haap, Jan Fritz, Meinrad Beer, Marius Horger
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12880-019-0338-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Haap Michael and Horger Marius contributed equally to this work.



Pulmonary involvement is common in several infectious and non-infectious diagnostic settings. Imaging findings consistently overlap and are therefore difficult to differentiate by chest-CT. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of CT-textural features(CTTA) for discrimination between atypical viral (respiratory-syncitial-virus(RSV) and herpes-simplex-1-virus (HSV1)), fungal (pneumocystis-jirovecii-pneumonia(PJP)) interstitial pneumonias and alveolar hemorrhage.


By retrospective single-centre analysis we identified 46 consecutive patients (29 m) with RSV(n = 5), HSV1(n = 6), PJP(n = 21) and lung hemorrhage(n = 14) who underwent unenhanced chest CTs in early stages of the disease between 01/2016 and 02/2017. All cases were confirmed by microbiologic direct analysis of bronchial lavage. On chest-CT-scans, the presence of imaging features like ground-glass opacity(GGO), crazy-paving, air-space consolidation, reticulation, bronchial wall thickening and centrilobular nodules were described. A representative large area was chosen in both lungs and used for CTTA-parameters (included heterogeneity, intensity, average, deviation, skewness).


Discriminatory CTTA-features were found between alveolar hemorrhage and PJP consisting of differences in mean heterogeneity(p < 0.015) and uniformity of skewness(p < 0.006). There was no difference between CT-textural features of diffuse alveolar hemorrhage and viral pneumonia or PJP and viral pneumonia. Visual HRCT-assessment yielded great overlap of imaging findings with predominance of GGO for PJP and airspace consolidation for pneumonia/alveolar hemorrhage. Significant correlations between HRCT-based imaging findings and CT-textural features were found for all three disease groups.


CT-textural features showed significant differences in mean heterogeneity and uniformity of skewness. HRCT-based imaging findings correlated with certain CT-textural features showing that the latter have the potential to characterize structural properties of lung parenchyma and related abnormalities.
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