This review describes the main features of central airway pathology and compares the imaging findings, especially the ones of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) and virtual bronchoscopy, with those in pathology and direct bronchoscopy, in order to propose a schematic and practical approach to establish diagnoses.
- Dividing diseases into diffuse and focal lesions helps narrow the differential diagnosis.
- Focal lesions with nodularity are more likely to correspond to tumours.
- Focal lesions with stenosis are more likely to correspond to inflammatory disease.
- Posterior wall involvement is the main feature in diffuse lesions with stenosis.
To describe the imaging features of the central airway pathology, correlating the findings with those in pathology and virtual endoscopy. To propose a schematic and practical approach to reach diagnoses, placing strong emphasis on multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) findings.