Cáceres’ Corner Case 246 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

Today I am showing the PA radiograph of an 82-year-old woman. Preoperatory for cataracts.

What do you think about the right hilum?

1. Calcified TB nodes
2. Sarcoidosis
3. Amyloid
4. None of the above

More images will be shown on Wednesday.

Click here to see the images shown on Monday


Dear friends, showing today PA and lateral radiographs taken two years earlier. Hope they help.

Click here to see the new images

Click here to see the answer

Findings: Initial PA radiograph shows opacities in the right hilum (A, circle), unchanged in comparison with a previous film taken two years earlier (B, circle).

The clue to the diagnosis lies in the density and appearance of the opacities. They are denser than the typical lymph node calcifications, suggesting that they are metallic. In addition, some of them look tubular or branching (C, red arrows). A lateral view taken two years earlier confirms dense lineal and branching opacities in right lung (D, arrows).
The combination of linear and branching metallic opacities suggests that they are either in the bronchi (previous bronchography) or within the pulmonary vessels (embolism after vertebroplasty o treatment of AV malformation). See Diploma # 44.

Lateral view of the lumbar spine shows surgical changes with vertebroplasty of L3 to L5 and leakage of the cement into the epidural veins (E, arrows), better seen in the sagittal CT (F, arrows).

Unenhanced CT confirms multiple cement emboli in the pulmonary arteries (G-J, circles)

Final diagnosis: cement embolization of the lung after vertebroplasty
 
I must mention Olena and Ayudi who suggested amyloid and broncholithiasis but failed to notice the metallic opacity of the findings.
 
Teaching point: Consider previous vertebroplasty when you see metallic opacities in the lungs. It is a common complication.

Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook 161 – Meet the examiner

Dear Friends,

This week’s case follows the pattern of a “Meet the Examiner” presentation, with questions and answers similar to a real examination. Take your time before scrolling down for the answer.

The images belong to a 60-year-old man with moderate cough and dyspnea

What would you recommend?

1. Compare with previous films
2. Chest CT
3. PET-CT
4. None of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA radiograph shows large bullae in both upper lobes. There is a nodule in the RUL projected over one bulla (A, arrow). Two small calcified granulomas are visible in the periphery of the LUL (A, circle). PA film taken five years earlier (B) does not show any nodule in the RUL. The granulomas in the LUL are unchanged.

Report of the chest : bullous emphysema with a nodule not visible in 2014. Given the relationship between bullous disease and carcinoma, it is imperative to do a chest CT.

Enhanced CT was done the next day. What would you suggest?

1. Antibiotic treatment and CXR in one month
2. PET-CT
3. Antibiotic treatment and CT in one month
4. None of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: aside form large bullae in both upper lobes, an irregular nodule is evident in the RUL (A-B, arrows). In my opinion, given the appearance of the nodule I would suspect malignancy and request a PET-CT. However CT was reported as: Pseudonodular opacity in RUL that could be related to an infectious/inflammatory process. A neoplasm cannot be excluded. Recommend control after treatment

Click here to see more images

A chest radiograph was taken one month later.
What would you do?

1. PET-CT
2. CXR in three months
3. CT in three months
4. Control in one year

Click here to see more images

The chest radiograph one month later was reported as unchanged and no further suggestions were made by the radiologist. The clinician took no further action.

The patient came back ten months later, and a new radiograph showed an obvious increase in size of the nodule (B, arrow) when compared to the initial film (A, arrow)

Click here to see more images

Enhanced CT confirms the increase in size of the nodule (A-B, arrows). Surgery discovered a carcinoma in the wall of a bulla.

Final diagnosis: adenocarcinoma of the lung associated to bullous disease.

Lung carcinoma seems to occur more often in bullous disease, although there is not enough evidence compiled at the present time. Despite the lack of evidence, knowing
this association may prevent misdiagnosis.
A lesser known fact is that the cystic space may disappear after the carcinoma develops, as occurred in a second case (see below). Spontaneous regression of a bulla may be due to non-malignant causes, but carcinoma should be excluded with CT because it may take years for the lesion to be visible in the chest radiograph.

I am showing this case because the opinion given in the chest radiograph was unequivocal, whereas the CT report was vapid, giving the impression that the nodule was infectious, and that malignancy was less likely. The follow-up radiograph was disregarded by the radiologist and clinician and this caused a delay in diagnosis of almost one year.

To complete the information, I am showing a second case of carcinoma developing in the wall of a cystic space

Images of the second case were obtained during routine CT screening in a 72-year-old man, heavy smoker.
Apical axial CT image shows a small nodule in the LUL (A, arrow), with increased uptake on PET-CT (C, arrow). There is a cystic airspace in the LLL (B, arrow) with no PET-CT uptake, interpreted as a non-specific cystic airspace lesion.

At surgery a carcinoma of the LUL was found.

It was decided to continue with yearly follow-up studies. The cystic air space (A, arrow) increased in size in 2008 but still had a thin wall (B, arrow). In 2009 it has decreased slightly in size and the wall is thicker than the previous year (C, arrow). A new PET-CT shows increased uptake in the posterior wall (D, arrow).

Malignancy was suspected. The patient refused further surgery or percutaneous biopsy and it was decided to do a follow up study three months later.
Axial CT shows that the cystic airspace has disappeared and in its place, a solid mass has developed (A and B, arrows) with increased overall uptake on PET-CT (C, arrow). At surgery, an adenocarcinoma was found.

Final diagnosis: adenocarcinoma arising in the wall of a cystic airspace, which disappeared as the tumour progressed.


Follow Dr. Pepe’s advice:

1. Bullous emphysema and isolated cystic spaces may be associated with an increased incidence of carcinomas

2. A poorly worded report may cause an unnecessary delay in diagnosis

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.

Cáceres Corner Case – Vignette 238

Dear Friends,

Today I am showing a preoperative PA radiograph in a 72-year-old woman.

Diagnosis:

1. Aortic elongation
2. Aortic dissection
3. Aortic aneurysm
4. Any of the above

What do you see?

Click here to see the answer

Findings: the obvious finding is elongation of the descending aorta. Usually, the diameter of the aorta cannot be determined in the plain film because only the outer wall is outlined by lung air, whereas the medial wall is obscured by the mediastinal structures.

In this case, the tortuous lower aorta projects the medial wall against the lung, allowing to measure the aortic diameter, which is increased (A, red line).
In the other hand, the ascending aorta is not prominent. This a negative finding against aortic elongation, which should involve the whole thoracic aorta.
Therefore, answers 1 and 4 can be excluded. To differentiate between answer 2 and 3 an enhanced CT is needed.

Click here to see more images

Enhanced CT was done. Axial and sagittal images are shown.
What would be your diagnosis?

1. Type B aortic dissection
2. Aneurysm with thrombus
3. Any of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: enhanced axial and coronal CT show a normal ascending aorta and a partially thrombosed dilated descending aorta. The fact that the outer wall is calcified (B-C, arrows) indicates that the intima is not displaced and rules out an aortic dissection. The correct diagnosis is aneurysm with partial thrombosis.

Final diagnosis: unsuspected aneurysm of descending aorta

I saw this case three days ago and thought it was a nice demonstration of a negative finding (lack of dilatation of ascending aorta) as mentioned in my last webinar.
As a result of the findings in the plain film, an enhanced CT demonstrated a partially thrombosed aneurysm and the patient was referred for vascular surgery.

This is the last vignette of the season. Since the pandemic is abating, I will resume next week the usual Caceres’ corner cases and Diploma presentations.

Cáceres Corner Case – Vignette 237

Dear Friends,

If you are Sci-Fi fans I recommend this week the novel “The windup girl” and the short stories collection “Pump six” by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Today’s radiographs belong to a 57-year-old woman with cough and fever. She had an osteosarcoma of the lower limb removed eight years earlier.

Diagnosis:

1. Carcinoma
2. Pneumonia
3. Tuberculosis
4. Any of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA chest shows haziness of left hemithorax, elevation of the left hilum (A, arrow) and luftsichel (A, red arrow), typical signs of LUL collapse. The collapse is confirmed by the marked displacement of the major fissure on the lateral view (B, arrows). At this point, the best diagnosis is an endobronchial lesion, most likely carcinoma

Click here to see more images

CT with and without contrast enhancement was done. What would be your diagnosis?

1. Carcinoid
2. Carcinoma
3. Endobronchial TB
4. Endobronchial metastasis

Click here to see the answer

Findings: unenhanced CT demonstrates LUL collapse with coarse calcification that seems to follow the path of the bronchus (C, arrows). Enhanced CT shows a non-enhancing endobronchial lesion at the origin of the LUL (D, arrow).

Of the diagnosis offered, the coarse calcification makes carcinoma very unlikely and suggests a carcinoid tumor, although I would expect some enhancement after contrast injection. Given the previous history of osteogenic sarcoma, endobronchial metastases should be considered. I would vote against TB.

Bronchoscopy found a mass occluding the LUL bronchus. Biopsy returned the diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

Final diagnosis: endobronchial metastases from osteogenic sarcoma.

I am showing this unusual case because it is my first and probably my last case of endobronchial metastasis from osteogenic sarcoma. It is also unusual the prolonged span of time (eight years) between the removal of the primary and the appearance of the metastasis.
 
Remember that the most common cause of LUL collapse is first and foremost a carcinoma of the lung. Endobronchial metastases can give a similar appearance and are more common in tumors of breast, kidney and melanoma although they may occur in any type of tumor, as in the present case.

Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook 155 – SOLVED!

Dear Friends,

Today I am presenting the leading case of a new webinar entitled: “Sherlock Holmes and the curious finding in the chest radiograph”.

AP radiograph belongs to a newborn with respiratory distress.

Diagnosis:

1. Diaphragmatic hernia
2. Lung tumor
3. Pneumonia
4. None of the above

What do you see? Come back on Wednesday to see the answer and the webinar!

Click here to see the answer

Findings: at a first glance, the predominant abnormality is a large bump in the left hemidiaphragm (A, arrow), suggestive of localized eventration or hernia. However, there is and additional important finding: both humeri are not visible (A, circles).
This baby was born with a congenital absence of the arms (amelia).

I am showing this case to stress the importance of discovering so-called negative findings. Our training emphasizes the discovery of positive findings and forgets teaching us to detect structures that are absent, as this case proves.
 
My apologies for tricking you, but I was trying to prove my point. You can get more information about negative findings in today´s webinar.

Cáceres Corner Case 234 – Vignette

Dear Friends,

Today´s radiographs belong to a 48-year-old woman with aortic stenosis.

Most likely diagnosis:

1. Intrathoracic goiter
2. Aortic arch malformation
3. Neurogenic tumor
4. Any of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA radiograph shows a left mediastinal mass superimposed on the artic knob (A, arrow). The trachea is not displaced. In the lateral view the mass is in the anterior/middle mediastinum (B, arrows).
Regarding the diagnosis offered, the location excludes neurogenic tumor which usually arises in the posterior mediastinum. Intrathoracic goiter is a possibility, but the fact that part of it is the anterior mediastinum and that there is no tracheal displacement goes against this diagnosis. The location of the mass around the aortic knob plus knowing that the patient has aortic valve stenosis point to an aortic arch malformation.

Click here to see more images

Enhanced CT shows that the mass corresponds to a high aortic knob (C, arrow). An oblique view demonstrates the high knob (D, arrow) with a kink and angulation of the aorta representing the lower knob in the PA radiograph (D, red arrow).
My apologies for showing only 3-D images, but the CT was done during the lockdown and they are all I could get.
The patient has no collateral circulation. He had no systemic hypertension and no gradient across the zone of kinking.

Final diagnosis: aortic pseudocoarctation

Pseudocoarctation of the aorta occurs when the aortic arch originates from the 3rd arch, instead of the 4th. In this condition, the aortic arch is higher than usual, with a kinking at the union of the aortic arch and descending aorta, simulating aortic coarctation. Rib notching is absent and systemic hypertension is not present.
This is a rare condition is, but it is not unusual to see it in clinical practice.

To compensate for the lack of CT images in this case, I am showing another pseudocoarctation with similar findings (Fig 1).

Fig 1. PA chest radiograph shows a superior middle mediastinal mass (A, arrow), displacing the trachea. Mass is vaguely seen on the lateral view (B, circle). The most common diagnosis should be an endothoracic goiter but remember that a vascular structure should be always ruled out with enhanced CT.

Coronal CT demonstrates that the mass corresponds to a dilated aortic arch located higher than usual (C, arrow). On the oblique reconstruction, the high aneurysmatic aortic arch is well seen as well as the kinking at the junction with the descending aorta (D, red arrow).
Final diagnosis: aortic pseudocoarctation with aneurysm of the aortic arch.


Cáceres Corner Case 229 – Vignette

Hello friends,

After three weeks of confinement I believe I have seen all TV series available. If you like Sci-Fi I recommend The Expanse (Amazon Video) and for older citizens The Kominsky method(Netflix).

Today’s case was sent to me from my hospital in the early days of lockdown. The scout film belongs to a 78-year-old man with doubtful COVID-19 infection.
Do you see any abnormality?
If so, where is it?

1. Chest
2. Abdomen
3. Chest and abdomen
4. Don’t see it

Click here to see the answer

Findings: There is a rounded right mediastinal opacity at the junction of the trachea and right main bronchus (A, arrow). There is an apparent abdominal RUQ mass (A, red arrows) with an area of lesser opacity in the center (A, yellow arrow).
The correct answer would be number 3. Visible abnormalities in chest and abdomen

With these findings what would be your diagnosis?

1. Enlarged azygos arch
2. Azygos continuation of IVC
3. Right-sided stomach
4. All of the above

Click here to see the answer

The clue to the diagnosis resides in the apparent RUQ abdominal mass. The shape suggests a right-side stomach, with air in the antrum and duodenal bulb and lesser amount of air in the fornix (Fig A). Findings are better seen in the drawing (B).

A right-sided stomach with a normal-positioned heart is highly suggestive of a congenital abnormality, levocardia with abdominal situs inversus. In this malformation the chest structures are in their normal location, whereas the abdominal viscera are rotated 180 degrees.
This malformation is accompanied by partial interruption of the IVC and azygos continuation, which results in an enlarged azygos arch.
Therefore the correct answer is 4. All of the above

Click here to see the more images

Enhanced axial CT confirms the enlarged azygos arch (A, arrow). Coronal reconstruction demonstrates the dilated ascending azygos vein (B, arrows)

Axial images of the upper abdomen show the gastric fornix in the RUQ (C-D, arrows) as well as a normal left-sided heart (C) and a mid-line liver (D). There is a small splenic remnant in the RUQ (D, red arrow).

Final diagnosis: Levocardia with abdominal situs inversus

I am showing this case because this is our fourth patient with levocardia and abdominal situs inversus seen in the last four years (see Caceres´ corner cases 178 & 194 and Dr. Pepe´s Summer case 1). It may not be as rare as the textbooks state. In addition, the diagnosis can be suggested in the plain film if we discover the right-sided stomach.