Solitary lung masses due to occult aspiration

Xiaowen Hu, Eunhee S. Yi, Jay H. Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Aspiration occurs commonly, at times clinically occult, and is recognized to cause a widening spectrum of lung disorders. Presentation of aspiration as a lung mass has not been described. Methods Among cases of aspiration-related pulmonary diseases diagnosed at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn) from 2007 to 2013, 3 patients were identified to have presented with a solitary lung mass lesion. Results The age of 3 patients, all men with a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease, ranged from 53 to 65 years. All patients presented with dyspnea, cough, and intermittent fevers. Chest computed tomography in each patient demonstrated malignant-appearing solitary lung mass, cavitated in 2 patients. Two patients underwent positron emission tomography, which showed intense fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in the lung mass for both. Surgical lung resection revealed acute and organizing pneumonia with giant cell reaction to foreign material, consistent with aspiration in all 3 patients. None of these lung masses were located in the "dependent" (posterior or basal) lung zones. These patients were managed with antireflux medical therapy; 1 patient underwent a Nissen fundoplication procedure for recurrent symptoms. No additional aspiration-related complications occurred during the follow-up period ranging from 24 to 84 months. Conclusions Aspiration-related pulmonary complications can present as a solitary lung mass that may not be located in dependent lung zones, which have traditionally been associated with aspiration-related pulmonary diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-658
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Lung neoplasms
  • Respiratory aspiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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