What Are Calcified Lung Nodules?

  • Medical Author:
    George Schiffman, MD, FCCP

    Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

What are calcified nodules in the lung?

Doctor's response

The lung has a variety of mechanisms that try to keep the lungs sterile. Sometimes small substances (grains of sand, dust, or certain organisms) get past these mechanisms and deposit in the lung tissue. The body's immune system responds to this deposition of foreign matter. In some cases, the substance can be destroyed with enzymes or cleared from the lung (sometimes by coughing); in other cases, the body walls off this foreign material into nodular densities that can calcify (meaning that there are small deposits of calcium-containing compounds), especially if any bleeding occurs. These are seen as calcified nodules on chest X-rays or CT scans. Organisms that can result in these nodules include tuberculosis, Rubella (the virus that causes German measles), and a variety of fungi.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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Last Editorial Review: 6/23/2017

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