Ground-glass opacification

Ground-glass opacification/opacity (GGO) is a descriptive term referring to an area of increased attenuation in the lung on computed tomography (CT) with preserved bronchial and vascular markings. It is a non-specific sign with a wide etiology including infection, chronic interstitial disease and acute alveolar disease.

Ground glass opacification is also used in chest radiography to refer to a region of hazy lung radiopacity, often fairly diffuse, in which the edges of the pulmonary vessels may be difficult to appreciate 7.

Ground-glass opacities have a broad etiology:

  • normal expiration
    • on expiratory acquisitions, which can be detected if the posterior membranous wall of the trachea is flattened or bowed inwards
  • partial filling of air spaces
  • partial collapse of alveoli
  • interstitial thickening
  • inflammation
  • edema
  • fibrosis
  • lepidic proliferation of neoplasm

Broadly speaking, the differential for ground-glass opacification can be split into 5:

  • infectious processes (opportunistic vs non-opportunistic)
  • chronic interstitial diseases
  • acute alveolar diseases
  • other causes

Article information

rID: 1404
System: Chest
Sections: Approach, Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Ground glass opacification
  • Ground glass changes
  • Differential of ground glass opacity
  • Differential of ground glass opacities
  • Differential of ground-glass opacity
  • Differential of ground-glass opacities
  • Ground-glass changes
  • Ground glass opacities (GGO)
  • Ground glass
  • Ground-glass attenuation
  • Ground-glass
  • Ground glass densities
  • Ground glass density
  • Ground glass attenuation
  • Ground glass attenuation regions
  • Groundglass attenuation regions
  • Ground glass attenuating regions
  • Ground-glass opacity
  • Ground-glass opacification/opacity (GGO)
  • Ground glass opacity
  • GGOs

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: amiodarone lung
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  • Case 2: angioinvasive aspergillosis
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  • Case 3: sarcoidosis
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  • Case 4: COP
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