Emergency #24 – Flashcard

A 43-year-old man with inflammation and lower abdominal pain:

What do you see?

Click here to see the answer

* Inflammatory wall thickening of the sigmoid colon.
* Multiple diverticula, but one enlarged with thickened enhancing wall (arrow).
* Surrounding haziness of the mesosigmoid fat.
* Peritoneal accentuation

Typical image of diverticulitis, in a typical location with typical presentation

Teaching point

Look for signs of perforation or abscess formation

Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook 159 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

Today I am presenting another “Art of interpretation” case. As I have mentioned before, interpreting a chest radiograph may be a difficult task and analyzing the diagnostic steps helps to a correct evaluation of the findings.

Radiographs belong to a 57-year-old woman with cough and pain in the chest.

1. Pulmonary mass
2. Mediastinal mass
3. Pleural mass
4. Any of the above

What do you see? Come back on Friday to see the answer!

Click here to see the images

Click here to see the answer

PA radiograph shows an ill-defined right perihilar and upper lung opacity( A, asterisk). The right hemidiaphragm is elevated. There is an obvious elevation of the right hilum. (A, red arrow).

Lateral view shows a well-defined retro-sternal triangular opacity (B, white arrows) with a rounded convex appearance at the level of the hilum (B, red arrow).

Analysis of relevant findings:

PA chest

1. Elevation of right hilum
2. Hazy opacity in right upper lung
3. Elevated right hemidiaphragm

Lateral chest

1. Well-defined retro-sternal triangular opacity with a bulge in the middle

The clue to the diagnosis lies in discovering the elevation of the right hilum in the PA view. Neither a mediastinal nor a pleural mass should displace the hilum upwards. Therefore, the correct answer is: 1. Pulmonary mass.

The elevated right hilum suggests loss of volume of RUL, supported by the haziness of upper lung and elevation of the hemidiaphragm.

The lateral view provides significant information: the retro-sternal triangular opacity is highly suspicious of RUL collapse, limited superiorly by the displaced major fissure and inferiorly by the minor fissure. The central bulge suggests a mass as the cause of the collapse.


Enhanced coronal CT confirms the central mass (A, arrow) and the collapsed RUL (A, red arrow). Sagittal view shows the displaced major fissure (B, arrow). Axial view demonstrates the obstructed RUL bronchus (C, arrow)

Final diagnosis: Carcinoma of RUL bronchus with atypical collapse of RUL

Recognizing lobar collapses in the chest radiograph is important because most of them are caused by endobronchial carcinoma.
RUL collapse has a distinctive appearance which is easily identified in the PA radiograph (see Diploma 58). Occasionally the presentation is atypical and may be unrecognized, causing an unnecessary delay in the diagnosis. In these cases it is important to know the main signs that will suggest the correct diagnosis (see Diploma 141).
Elevation of the right hilum, as in the present case, is practically a constant sign in RUL collapse. Detecting a high hilum is an important clue to suspect this diagnosis.

To emphasize the importance of an elevated hilum as a sign of atypical RUL collapse, I am showing a second case. Patient is a 77 y.o. man with right shoulder pain.

PA radiograph shows an apparent air-filled cavity in the right upper lung. The clue to the diagnosis lies in recognizing the elevation of the right hilum (A, arrow), pointing to a RUL collapse.
Lateral view confirms the suspicion of RUL collapse confined between the elevated minor fissure (B, arrow) and the anteriorly displaced major fissure (B, red arrow).

Comparison with a previous film confirms the typical findings of aerated RUL collapse, with elevation of the minor fissure (C, arrow) and the right hilum (C, red arrow). The appearance of the current film is due to an apical loculated pneumothorax (D, asterisk) which has displaced medially the outer wall of the RUL lobe.

Previous CT taken three years earlier confirms collapse of RUL lobe with open bronchus (E, arrow), bronchiectasis in the lateral view and marked displacement of the fissures (F, arrows). Note the increased apical fat (E, asterisk) suggestive of a chronic process.

Final diagnosis: Chronic inflammatory collapse of RUL with loculated apical pneumothorax

Follow Dr. Pepe’s advice:

1. Detecting an elevated right hilum is an excellent clue to suspect an atypical presentation of RUL collapse

Cáceres’ Corner Case 242 – SOLVED

Dear friends, welcome back!

Today I am showing a straightforward case to ease you into the new season. Promise I will not mention Covid-19 at all.

Today’s case is a pre op PA radiograph for knee surgery in a 47-year-old woman.

What do you see?

Come back on Friday to see the answer!

Click here to see the answer

Lung and mediastinum do not show any relevant findings. An isolated air-fluid level is visible in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen (A, arrow). The inner border of the cavity is smooth. The gastric bubble is visible under the left hemidiaphragm (A, red arrow).

Given that the patient is asymptomatic, an abdominal abscess or bowel obstruction/ volvulus can be safely excluded. A large intestinal diverticulum could be a possibility. I suspected a more mundane diagnosis: a review of the clinical history discovered that an intragastric balloon had been inserted fourteen months earlier.

Final diagnosis: air-fluid level in an intragastric balloon for morbid obesity
Congratulations to all of you who detected the air-fluid level. Kudos to Flemming Ghomsen who came close to the diagnosis.

Intragastric balloons for bariatric surgery may be filled with air or with saline. In the second case they may present an air-fluid level due to room air mixing during the injection of fluid.

Teaching points:

1. Remember to look under the diaphragm. You may discover interesting findings.
2. In your differential diagnosis always include iatrogenesis as a possible cause.

ECR2020 – Question of the day #2 – Winner announced

We dare you to solve one of the hardest questions of the EDiR examination!
The European Board of Radiology raffles amongst the winners an examination place for the EDiR during 2021.

70-year-old woman with cough and dyspnea.
What is the most likely diagnosis?

Please, click here to enter your answer. Solve the question before 13:30 CEST

Winner will be announced here, on the EBR blog, at 14:00 CEST

Good luck!

The winner of the Question of the day is


ECR2020 – Question of the day #1 – Winner announced!

We dare you to solve one of the hardest questions of the EDiR examination!
The European Board of Radiology raffles amongst the winners an examination place for the EDiR during 2021.

Regarding coronary anomalies: Which of the following statements are correct?

Please, click here to enter your answer. Solve the question before 13:30 CEST

Winner will be announced here, on the EBR blog, at 14:00 CEST

Good luck!

The winner of the Question of the day is


Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook 158 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

this is the last case of the first semester. Will meet again in September.
Wish all of you a very happy summer vacation!

This is a new “art of interpretation” case. Radiographs belong to a 40-year-old woman with mild cough.

What do you see?


1. Chronic TB changes
2. AV malformation
3. Bronchial atresia
4. Any of the above

Click here to see the answer

To refresh your memory, remember that interpreting a chest radiograph involves three basic steps:

1. Gather information. Examine the radiographs carefully and collect all the pertinent information. Remember that overlooking visible findings is the main cause of errors.

2. Analyze the findings. Once collected, the findings should be properly evaluated, and an opinion should be offered.

3. Decide on the next step to reach the diagnosis.

Step 1. Information:

In this patient the lateral view is unremarkable.
All relevant findings are seen in the PA radiograph:

1. Tubular branching opacities in the left upper lung (A, red arrows)
2. Increased lucency of left upper lung (A, circle)
3. Negative finding: the left hilum is in its normal position.

Step 2. Analysis of the findings:

1. Branching tubular opacities have a limited differential diagnosis: either they are pulmonary vessels or mucous-filled dilated bronchi.

2. Hyperlucent lung is a reliable sign of lung disease when complemented with an expiration film to demonstrate air-trapping.

3. The normal position of the left hilum is a negative finding that excludes a fibrotic process in the LUL (I.e. chronic TB), which should cause upper retraction of the hilum.

The combination of a lucent lung lesion with branching tubular opacities points towards an obstructive process of a segmental bronchus with mucous impaction (Obstruction of a lobar bronchus would cause lobar collapse instead of increased lucency).


Step 3. Decide on the next step

Once segmental bronchial obstruction is suspected in the chest radiograph, the best procedure to confirm it is an enhanced chest CT with expiratory views. In this case it shows attenuated upper lobe vessels (B, arrows) and obvious mucous impactions (B-C, red arrows).
Axial CT with lung window confirms the increased lucency of the apical-posterior segment of the RUL (D, circle)

Inspiration/expiration axial CT views (E-F) confirm segmental air trapping on the left.

Bronchoscopy did not show any inflammatory or tumoral changes in the LUL bronchus. The orifice of the apical-posterior segment was missing.

Final diagnosis: bronchial atresia of apical-posterior segment of LUL

In my experience, bronchial atresia is the most common congenital lung malformation seen in adults. Congenital bronchial atresia results from proximal interruption of a segmental bronchus, which causes overinflation of the affected segment and secondary mucus impaction. Chest radiography shows a focal hyperlucent area with internal mucus impaction. CT depicts these findings to better advantage. Inspiration and expiration views help to confirm air-trapping. In case of doubt, bronchoscopy excludes other causes of bronchial obstruction.

Congenital bronchial atresia may present different appearances, as shown in the following case of one of our X-ray technicians.

30-year-old female, asymptomatic. PA chest radiograph (A) shows hyperlucent left lung with discrete dextroposition of the heart. Expiration film (B) shows air-trapping on the left with deviation of the mediastinum towards the right. Note a thick tubular shadow in the left lower lung (A-B, red arrows), compatible with bronchial impaction. The findings are suggestive of congenital bronchial atresia

Axial and coronal enhanced CT show increased lucency of the posterior segments of LLL with a central mucous impaction (C-D, red arrows)

Decreased vascularity of LLL and central mucous impaction (E-F, red arrows) are better demonstrated in the MIP reconstruction.

Coronal view eleven years later show that air is now present within the dilated bronchus, confirming the diagnosis (G-H, circles) .

Dr. Pepe’s teaching point:

Hyperlucent lung with mucous impaction are the hallmark of congenital bronchial atresia.

Musculoskeletal #12 – Flashcard

43-year-old healthy patient:
– with fibromyalgia
– No other relevant medical history

What do you see on the following images?

Click here to see the answer


Multiple focal sclerotic bone lesions clustered around joints in both knees and sacroiliac joints




Sclerosing bony dysplasia characterized by multiple enostoses
Typically clustered around joints, aligned parallel to trabeculae. Usually 1-3 mm, they can reach up to 20 mm
Rare condition; inherited; asymptomatic; incidental
Important to avoid misdiagnosis with other relevant pathologies such as metastasis

Cáceres’ Corner Case 241 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

Today’s radiographs belong to a 24-year-old woman with cough and fever. What do you see?

More images will be shown next Wednesday and the answer will be published on Friday.

Click here to see Monday images

Dear Friends,

Showing today CT images of the chest. What do you think?

Click here to see the new images

Click here to see the answer

Findings: Chest radiographs show air-space disease in the right lower lobe (A-B, arrows). There is marked widening of the right paratracheal line (A, red arrow) suggestive of mediastinal lymphadenopathy.

Axial CT with lung window shows RLL air-space disease without cavitation (C, arrow). Mediastinal window at different levels confirms enlarged paratracheal, subcarinal and neck lymph nodes with hypodense center (D-F, red arrows). These findings should suggest active tuberculosis as the first possibility.
Although TB usually affects upper lobes, isolated involvement of lower lobes occurs in about 7% of cases.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis was found in the sputum.

Final diagnosis: active TB.
Congratulations to Archanareddyt who was the first to make the diagnosis.
 Teaching point: lymph nodes with hypodense center may occur in several processes (treated tumors, Whipple’s, etc.), but in the appropriate clinical situation, the first diagnostic consideration should be tuberculosis.