Unilateral absence of pulmonary artery: a radiographically occult cause of life-threatening hemoptysis

Juhi Agrawal, Anjuna Reghunath, Charu Paruthi, Mahesh K. Mittal, Mukul Sinha, Brij B. Thukral


Unilateral absence or agenesis of pulmonary artery (UAPA) is a rare congenital abnormality with an estimated prevelance of 1 in 2,00,000 adults. The entity occurs commonly in association with other congenital heart diseases like septal defects or patent ductus arteriosus. The condition usually runs a benign clinical course with patients usually presenting clinically in adulthood with history of recurrent respiratory tract infections. Two such patients presented with recurrent respiratory tract infections, breathlessness and hemoptysis. The chest radiograph of first patient was reported as normal in the referring hospital, while that of second patient showed volume loss in left lung. CT Pulmonary Angiography (CTPA) was then performed which demonstrated the absence of right and left pulmonary arteries respectively in the first and second patients. Pulmonary artery branches were reformed distally by multiple collaterals arising from systemic arteries. The entire spectrum, including embryology, imaging features and management of UAPA are discussed. UAPA remains a potential cause for life-threatening hemoptysis, due to extensive collateralization associated with the condition. It is important for radiologists to be aware of this uncommon entity in order to suspect it on a routine chest radiograph, diagnose it and map associated collaterals on CTPA and also embolize the bleeding collaterals.


Computed tomography, Collaterals, Embolization, Hemoptysis, Pulmonary angiography, Unilateral agenesis of pulmonary artery

Full Text:



Reading D, Oza U. Unilateral Absence of a Pulmonary Artery: A Rare Disorder with Variable Presentation. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2012;25(2):115-8.

Carter B, Lichtenberger J, Wu C. Congenital Abnormalities of the Pulmonary Arteries in Adults. Am J Roentgenol. 2014;202(4):W308-13.

Steiropoulos P, Archontogeorgis K, Tzouvelekis A, Ntolios P, Chatzistefanou A, Bouros D. Unilateral pulmonary artery agenesis: a case series. Hippokratia. 2013;17(1):73-6.

Pfefferkorn J, Löser H, Pech G, Toussaint R, Hilgenberg F. Absent pulmonary artery. Pediatr Cardiol. 1982;3(4):283-6.

Bockeria L, Makhachev O, Khiriev T, Abramyan M. Congenital isolated unilateral absence of pulmonary artery and variants of collateral blood supply of the ipsilateral lung. Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2011;12(3):509-10.

Narang P, Arya S, Verma AK, Goyal N, Agarwal S. Why map the MAPCA’s? ECR 2018.

Batur A, Ödev K, Pekcan S. Imaging Features of Isolated Unilateral Pulmonary Artery Agenesis. Eur J Gen Med. 2013;10(supplement 1):58-61.

Kadir I, Thekudan J, Dheodar A, Jones M, Carroll K. Congenital unilateral pulmonary artery agenesis and aspergilloma. Ann Thorac Surg. 2002;74(6):2169-71.

Jan Ten Harkel A, Blom N, Ottenkamp J. Isolated Unilateral Absence of a Pulmonary Artery. Chest. 2002;122(4):1471-7.

Bekoe S, Pellegrini R, DiMarco R, Grant K, Woelfel G. Pneumonectomy for unremitting hemoptysis in unilateral absence of pulmonary artery. Ann Thorac Surg. 1993;55(6):1553-4.