- Scanning technology resources for healthcare professionals. A practical approach


Incidental pulmonary nodules: The crucial role of CT
in detection and management

Dear readers,

The unexpected observation of pulmonary nodules at thoracic CT scan is quite frequently reported and is the consequence of the widespread use of this imaging technique combined with the increasingly high accuracy and precision of its diagnostic performance. Awareness of this occurrence and knowledge of the strategies to be implemented for the appropriate management of these incidental lesions should be strengthened and spread among radiologists and clinicians.

For this purpose, Dr. Anzidei’s review proposed in this Newsletter illustrates the most relevant CT features of pulmonary nodules for their effective characterization and evaluation. Furthermore, it provides the main recommendations from the international guidelines for the correct CT follow-up and management of patients with pulmonary nodules. 

The scientific articles selected on this topic show that incidental findings can be encountered not only on chest CT, for example in breast cancer patients, but also as extracardiac findings on cardiac CT, and on whole-body CT performed in trauma patients.

Finally, the two clinical cases describe the evolution of a single case from the initial detection of pulmonary nodules on chest CT to the follow-up and management based on the international protocols.

Suggestions for topics to be covered in future issues of this newsletter are welcome as usual. Please send your ideas to us at

From the team



Incidental lung nodules
M. Anzidei

With the increasing number of CT scans performed in daily practice, pulmonary nodules currently represent a common incidental finding, with highly variable percentages among the different studies.

view »



Mortani Barbosa EJ Jr, Osuntokun O. Incidental findings in thoracic CTs performed in trauma patients: an underestimated problem. Eur Radiol. 2019;29(12):6772-9.

Rampinelli C, Cicchetti G, Cortese G et al. Management of incidental pulmonary nodule in CT: a survey by the Italian College of Chest RadiologyRadiol Med. 2019;124(7):602-12.

Kay FU, Canan A, Abbara S. Common incidental findings on cardiac CT: a systematic reviewCurr Cardiovasc Imaging Rep. 2019;12:21.

Snoeckx A, Reyntiens P, Desbuquoit D et al. Evaluation of the solitary pulmonary nodule: size matters, but do not ignore the power of morphologyInsights Imaging. 2018;9(1):73-86.