Cáceres Corner Case 230 – Vignette

Dear friends,

Today’s radiographs belong to a 27-year-old with dyspnea.

Diagnosis:

1. Giant bulla
2. Emphysema
3. Loculated pneumothorax
4. Any of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA radiograph shows overinflation of the lower right lung pushing the minor fissure upward (A, arrow), simulating partial RUL collapse. In the lateral view there is a circular line (B, red arrows) suggesting the wall of a giant bulla. The correct diagnosis is made by detecting overinflation of the left lower lung and scarce vascularity, an indication that we are not dealing with localized disease of RLL (giant bulla or pneumothorax) but with disease of both lower lobes. Therefore the correct diagnosis should be 3. Emphysema.

Another finding in favor of emphysema of lower lobes is redistribution of the pulmonary circulation in which the diameter of the vessels of upper lobes (B) is larger than those of the lower lobes (C).
Pulmonary vascular redistribution is usually due to cardiac failure but it may also occur in emphysema of lower lobes in which vascular flow is redirected to the functioning upper lobes.

Click here to see more images

Unenhanced axial CT confirm the relative sparing of upper lobes (D) and the severe emphysematous changes of lower lobes (E).

Coronal CT (F) shows severe emphysema of lower lobes and increased vascularity of upper lobes as well as discrete bronchial dilatations. Sagittal reconstruction demonstrates that the apparent wall of a bulla seen in the lateral chest radiograph represents the minor and major fissures (G, arrows) limiting a markedly emphysematous right middle lobe.

Diagnosis: Pulmonary emphysema secondary to alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency.

This condition affects young persons and causes severe emphysema of lower lobes and bronchial dilatations.

I am showing this case because is a good example of satisfaction of search (missing changes of the left lower lobe will lead you to the wrong diagnosis).
It is also a nice example of vascular redistribution secondary to pulmonary disease.

Cáceres Corner Case 228 – Vignette

Dear Friends,

Today I am showing a preoperative chest radiograph for varices of a 60-year-old woman.
Do you see any abnormality?
If so, where is it?

1. Lung
2. Mediastinum
3. Pleura/chest wall
4. Don’t see it

Click here to see the answer

Findings: There are bilateral convex opacities in the lower mediastinum (A, arrows), better seen in the cone down view (B, arrows). The appearance suggests a lower central mediastinal mass and the most likely diagnosis should be hiatus hernia. A fact against this diagnosis is the gastric fornix in its normal location (A, red arrow).

What would you recommend:

1. Lateral view of the chest
2. Esophagogram
3. Chest CT
4. None of the above

Click here to see the answer

In my opinion, the best choice is a lateral view, which shows poor definition of the body of the eleventh dorsal vertebra with a sharp angulation of the spine (C, circle). There is no evidence of hiatus hernia.

Click here to see the more images

AP cone down view of the lower thoracic spine shows a butterfly deformity of D11 (D, circle) with the outer borders accounting for the convexities visible in the chest radiograph. Lateral cone down view confirms marked flattening and collapse of the vertebral body (E, circle)

The patient had been involved in a car accident five years ago resulting in a burst compression fracture of D11. Comparison with previous radiographs did nor show any change.

Final diagnosis: Traumatic compression fracture of D11, stable

Teaching point: Remember that not all opacities in the lower mediastinum in the PA view are hiatus hernias. A lateral view places them in the correct compartment and helps to clarify the etiology.

Cáceres Corner Case 227 – Vignette

Dear friends, starting today I plan to show simple teaching cases (vignettes) hoping to ease the boredom of the confinement.
I will show two cases every week (Monday and Thursday). To make the presentation more agile the diagnosis will be included. If you get impatient all you have to do is press the answer button.

The first case is a routine control PA radiograph in a 67-year-old woman operated on for breast carcinoma three years ago.

Question: Do you suspect any bone metastasis?

Click here to see the answer

Findings: There is an apparent lytic lesion in the distal end of the right clavicle (A, arrow), better seen in the cone down view (B, arrow).

When I saw this case two months ago, I could not determine whether the lesion was real or not. What would you do?
 
1. Compare with previous films
2. Call the oncologist
3. PET-CT
4. Bone scintigraphy

Click here to see the answer

In my opinion, the first thing to do was comparing with previous films although
this brilliant idea was hampered by the technician placing the marker in top of the distal clavicle in two earlier radiographs (C-D).

What would you do now?
1. Bone scintigraphy
2. Call the oncologist
3. PET-CT
4. CT

Click here to see the answer

Since I was not sure about the lesion, I decided to call the oncologist to find out if she suspected any metastasis and if the patient had any pain in the right acromioclavicular area. The answer was negative. What would you recommend?

1. Bone scintigraphy
2. CT
3. PET-CT
4. Radiograph of the right clavicle

click here to see the answer

In my opinion the fastest way to clarify the diagnosis was to take a radiograph of both clavicles (with the left for comparison). The distal end of the right clavicle has a normal appearance and , since the patient had no local symptoms, no further studies were needed.

Final diagnosis: normal variant simulating pathology in an oncologic patient

I have seen several chest radiographs with apparent lytic lesion of the distal clavicle that turned out to be normal. It is described in the Atlas of normal variants by Keats. In this case I was doubtful because the patient had a carcinoma and the appearance of the lesion was ominous.
 
There are two teaching points in this case:
1. Talking to the referring physician is important to determine the management of findings.
2. A simple and inexpensive procedure clarified the diagnosis and avoided unnecessary additional studies.

Cáceres’ Corner Case 226 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

Today’s radiographs belong to a 27-year-old woman who came for a routine check-up.

Most likely diagnosis:

1. Thymic tumor
2. Enlarged lymph nodes
3. Aortic arch malformation
4. None of the above

CT images will be shown next Wednesday.

Click here to see the first images

Dear Friends,

Today I am showing enhanced CT images of the mediastinum in the early (A-B) and late phases (C-E).
What do you think?

Click here to see more images

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA chest radiograph shows a right upper mediastinal mass with undulated border (A, arrow). There is increased opacity of the anterior clear space in the lateral view (B, circle). In my opinion, the most likely diagnosis would be thymic tumor, although the undulated border favors enlarged lymph nodes.

Enhanced axial CTs in the arterial phase show an anterior mediastinal mass with minimal enhancement (C-D, arrows) and a vascular space in the center (C, yellow arrow).

Coronal and axial CTs in the late phase show partial washout of the vascular space (E, yellow arrow). The clue to the diagnosis lies in the presence of several punctate calcifications within the mass (F-G, red arrows) consistent with phleboliths, which are practically diagnostic of hemangioma. The central vascular space also supports the diagnosis.

The patient had been diagnosed of mediastinal hemangioma two years earlier and comparison with previous chest films and CTs did not show any change.
 
Final diagnosis: Mediastinal hemangioma
 
Congratulations to Naegleria and MK who gave similar diagnosis both at exactly 12:55 P.M.
 
Teaching point: This case is unusual (I have seen only two of them in the mediastinum) but can be easily diagnosed if phleboliths are present (and recognized). Early in my residency I learned that, when finding phleboliths within a mass, the diagnosis should be hemangioma until proven otherwise.
 
Ref. HP McAdams, ML Rosado de Christenson, CA Moran. Mediastinal hemangioma: radiographic and CT features in 14 patients. Radiology 1994; 193:399-402

Cáceres’ Corner Case 224 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

Due to the coronavirus scare, Dr Pepe and Miss Piggy have eloped to the Bahamas, leaving me alone in charge of the blog. Until his return in late March, I will present interesting cases in the Caceres’ Corner. I may even dare to present a Diploma case, although I am not as knowledgeable as Dr Pepe.

This week’s case is a preoperative PA radiograph of a 47-year-old woman.

Diagnosis:

1. Double aortic arch
2. Enlarged azygos vein
3. Mediastinal mass
4. None of the above

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

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA shows a right mediastinal bump at the confluence between the trachea and the RUL bronchus (A, arrow). There is a curved mediastinal line below (A, red arrow) and an extra mediastinal line in the left lower mediastinal border (A, yellow arrow).

The combination of these findings strongly suggests increased circulation in the azygos system, with prominent azygos and hemiazygos veins. In an asymptomatic patient the most likely diagnosis is a congenital interruption of the IVC with azygos continuation.
A double aortic arch can be ruled out because the right component raises higher than the left, and in this case the opposite occurs.

Unenhanced coronal CT confirms the dilated azygos arch (B, arrow) and the dilated ascending azygos (B-C, red arrows) and hemiazygos (C, yellow arrow)

Final diagnosis: Congenital interruption of the IVC with azygos continuation.
 
Congratulations to Hazem who was the first to give the correct answer and to Krister who gave a nice and accurate description of the findings.
 
Teaching point: this case is a good example of non-significant findings secondary to a congenital malformation, as mentioned in webinar eight.

Cáceres’ Corner Case 220 – SOLVED


Dear Friends,

I am showing today a case seen last week. Radiographs belong to a 35-year-old man with fever. 

What do you see?

The answer will be published on Friday.

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA chest radiograph shows widening of the superior mediastinum (A, arrows). There is moderate prominence of both hila (A, red arrows) and two rounded opacities in the inferior aspect of the right hilum (A, yellow arrows). The lateral view shows convex bumps in the left hilum (B, red arrows).
Findings in both views are practically pathognomonic of mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathies.

Changes in the PA radiograph are more evident when comparing with a previous film taken two years earlier.

In this case, lymphoma is the best possibility. For the sake of the patient I hoped it was infectious mononucleosis. Analysis discovered immature cells in the bloodstream. Further workup confirmed the diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
 
Final diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia with enlarged hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes.
 
Many of you discovered the enlarged lymph nodes, which makes me very proud.
Kudos for Amal Mahran, who was the first to give a detailed description.
 
Teaching point: I believe this case emphasizes the importance of comparing with previous studies. If I had shown the previous PA chest, I am sure the percentage of correct answers would had been close to one hundred percent.