Emphysema, Centrilobular

Emphysema, Centrilobular

Jud W. Gurney, MD, FACR

Axial HRCT shows low-attenuation foci of centrilobular emphysema within the outlines of a secondary pulmonary lobule image.

Gross pathology shows early centrilobular emphysema image from the destruction of a respiratory bronchiole. The septa image outline the edge of the secondary pulmonary lobule.


Abbreviations and Synonyms

  • Centrilobular emphysema (CLE), centriacinar emphysema (CAE), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), proximal acinar emphysema, vanishing lung


  • Emphysema: Abnormal permanent enlargement of any or all parts of acinus, accompanied by destruction of alveolar tissue but without fibrosis

    • CLE: Enlargement and destruction of respiratory bronchioles within secondary pulmonary lobule (SPL)

  • COPD: Presence of airflow obstruction caused by chronic bronchitis or emphysema

    • Airflow obstruction is generally progressive; may be accompanied by airway hyper-reactivity and may be partially reversible

    • Includes asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchiectasis

    • CLE most common form of emphysema associated with symptomatic or fatal chronic airway obstruction


General Features

  • Best diagnostic clue: Well-defined holes in centrilobular portion of SPL

  • Patient position/location: Predominantly involves upper lung zones

CT Findings

Sep 20, 2016 | Posted by in RESPIRATORY IMAGING | Comments Off on Emphysema, Centrilobular

Full access? Get Clinical Tree

Get Clinical Tree app for offline access