In the setting of a questionable pulmonary nodule demonstrated by conventional radiographs, the place of CT in the diagnostic algorithm is not well established. We reviewed our experience in 50 consecutive patients referred to CT for a "possible pulmonary nodule." From the chest radiographs we noted nodule location, maximum dimension, presence on one or both views, and presence on a previous radiograph (> 1 year old), and nodules were categorized as "likely" or "unlikely" to be real parenchymal lesions based on radiographic appearance. Of a total of 56 questionable nodules, CT demonstrated no abnormality in 21 cases, parenchymal nodules in 16, scarring, atelectasis, or infiltrate in 11, and normal structural variants in 8. True pulmonary nodules were statistically significantly more frequently categorized as "likely" lesions than normal variants or no disease, but this was not of a magnitude to be clinically useful. Based on analysis of various radiographic features of equivocal nodules and their subsequent outcomes, we suggest a radiologic approach to the equivocal pulmonary nodule. © 1987.
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