Hazy Opacities In Lungs Meaning

Hazy opacities in lungs means that the normally dark lungs on X-ray or CT have become whiter then usual.  Hazy opacities can also be referred to as ground glass opacities.  Ground glass is when glass is made to be white or frosted.   Hazy opacities can be found on chest X-rays and CT.  Hazy opacities in lungs can be a small area or involve both lungs throughout.

What are hazy opacities?

Hazy opacities in lungs are sometimes referred to as hazy densities or hazy infiltrates in lungs by radiologists.   These descriptions means the same thing.   The normally dark lungs become whiter in appearance. The whiteness still allows you to see the blood vessels and bronchi through the opacities.

What condition is present with hazy opacities in lungs?

Hazy opacities in lungs is a description.   Hazy opacities in the lungs does not mean a certain condition or disease is present.  Hazy opacities in lungs implies that they involve more then a small area.  Usually this implies that a more extensive lung condition is present.

What are some conditions that can look like hazy opacities in lungs?

Most commonly, I see hazy opacities in he lungs when there is edema or fluid in the lungs.  This is most common from heart conditions like failure.  There are also less common causes of non heart related fluid in the lungs.


Pneumonia is also a common cause of hazy opacities in the lungs.  The phrase hazy infiltrates is more commonly used for pneumonia.  This can be from different kinds of pneumonia, but is common with COVID and other viral pneumonias.  Patients who have impaired immune systems like those with AIDS or bone marrow transplant can develop pneumonias with opportunistic organisms.

Adult respiratory distress syndrome

Adult respiratory distress syndrome is another life threatening condition that can result in hazy opacities in the lungs.  This occurs when there is damage to the lungs either from a direct cause like pneumonia or drowning or from a condition outside the lungs like pancreatitis, burns, or transfusion reaction.

Drug reactions

Hazy opacities or hazy densities in lungs can also occur from drug reactions.

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis

You can get hazy lung opacities from lung disease related to something irritating from the environment, called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Interstitial pneumonia

Interstitial pneumonias which are inflammatory diseases of the lungs of unknown cause can also have ground glass opacities.

Hazy densities, ground glass opacities or infiltrates are some additional ways to say hazy opacities are present in the lungs

Hazy opacities in lungs are an increased whiteness of the lungs which usually still lets you see the lung blood vessels and bronchi.  Ground glass opacities, hazy infiltrates or densities are some other terms used to describe similar findings.  Hazy opacities in lungs can mean many different conditions can be present.

How do you know what the diagnosis is?

The diagnosis for hazy opacities in lungs can best be reached when the clinical presentation, lab testing  and any other available imaging is used.   Hazy opacities in lungs can indicate a benign condition that requires no treatment all the way to deadly and life threatening.  It is therefore important to use all the information  available instead of just the imaging.





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