Lung cysts

Lung cysts alone do not normally affect breathing, so many patients don’t even know they have them. The only way to tell if you have lung cysts is to have a chest scan.

BHD experts recommend that BHD patients should have a high resolution CT scan when they are first diagnosed, to show how many cysts are present. There is no need for follow up scans if a patient has no further issues with their lungs, such as a pneumothorax.

Even if you have cysts, you may never experience a collapsed lung and therefore may never need treatment for your lung symptoms.


When you are first admitted to hospital, your doctor may use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs before ordering a scan. This is most likely to be a chest X-ray, although CT and ultrasound scanning can also be used to diagnose a collapsed lung.

You may have an arterial blood gas analysis to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. For this test, a needle is inserted into an artery, usually at the wrist, to collect a small blood sample. This test can cause moderate discomfort compared to a normal blood test. However, local anaesthetic can be used during this procedure, and any discomfort passes quickly after the test has finished.

Last Updated: May 2021
Review date: May 2024