Cáceres’ Corner Case 212 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

Today’s radiographs belong to a 53-year-old man with dysphagia. 

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

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Findings: PA radiograph (A) is unremarkable. The lateral view shows a slight anterior bowing of the trachea (B, arrow) with an apparently dilated upper esophagus with an air/solid interface (B, red arrow).

These findings are well seen in the cone down view, which better shows a thickened retrotracheal stripe (C, red arrows), a sign that suggests esophageal pathology, among others.
For all of you who diagnosed achalasia there is a negative finding: the lack of occupation of the retrocardiac space (D, circle) which practically rules out dilatation of the lower esophagus.

Sorry to say that I do not have additional images. After receiving the possible diagnosis of esophageal tumor, the patient went to another hospital, where esophagoscopy and biopsy confirmed upper esophageal dilatation by a carcinoma of the middle third.
Final diagnosis: Carcinoma of the middle third of the esophagus with proximal dilatation and food retention.
Congratulations to Dr Ahmad who was the first to describe the findings.
Teaching point: this case emphasizes the value of clinical information in selected cases. I suspect that some of you would not have discovered the dilated esophagus in the lateral view if I had withheld the history of dysphagia :).

Cáceres’ Corner Case 211 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

Today I’m showing chest radiographs of a 50-year-old woman with cough and sputum production.

What do you see?

You will have more images on Wednesday.

Dear Friends,

showing today CT images of the patient. What do you see?

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Findings: PA chest shows a small right lung, with a triangular opacity occupying the lower lung (A, arrow). The right heart border is not seen. The trachea and mediastinum are displaced to the right. In the lateral view the lower opacity occupies the lower lung from front to back (B, arrows).
This appearance is typical of combined RLL and RML collapse (obliteration of right heart border) and the most likely diagnosis is an obstructing lesion in the intermediary bronchus.

Enhanced axial CT shows marked narrowing of the intermediary bronchus (C, arrow). A caudal image shows marked dilatation of mucous-filled bronchi (D, arrows). This appearance indicates a long-standing obstruction and goes against a malignant process

Comparison with a previous radiograph (F) shows that the chest has not changed in comparison with the recent one (E). Bronchoscopy performed three years earlier demonstrated chronic stenosis of intermediate bronchus secondary to previous TB

Final diagnosis: Chronic TB changes of intermediary bronchus causing collapse of RML and RLL.
Congratulations to Maged Shaban and Yelgha who made the correct diagnosis of RLL and RML collapse
Teaching point: remember that central lobar collapse with bronchiectasis is rarely caused by malignancy.

Cáceres’ Corner Case 210 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,

showing another case seen during this summer. Preoperative chest radiography for knee surgery in a 57-year-old man. More images will be shown on Wednesday.

What do you see?

New images are shown:

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Findings: PA radiographs shows a right mediastinal mass at the level of the tracheal bifurcation (A, arrow), which has not changed significantly in comparison with a chest film taken for pneumonia one year earlier (B, arrow).

Several of you have mentioned a triangular shadow at the right cardiophrenic angle
(A-B, red arrows). This appearance should suggest paracardial fat pad as the first choice.

The differential diagnosis of a right mediastinal mass at the level of the tracheal bifurcation is simple: most of the times it is either an enlarged azygos vein or lymphadenopathy.
 CT shows a dilated azygos vein with a prominent azygos arch (C-D, arrows), suggesting a impeded blood flood either in the inferior or superior vena cava. Considering that the patient is asymptomatic, the most likely diagnosis is congenital interruption of the inferior vena cava, with azygos continuation. The diagnosis is confirmed noting the absence of the suprarenal portion of the IVC (C, circle) and the association of other congenital anomalies, such as polisplenia (C, red arrows) and abnormal bifurcation of the bronchial tree (E, arrows).

Coronal CT confirms that the triangular paracardial shadow represents paracardiac fat.

Final diagnosis: Congenital absence of IVC with azygos continuation
Congratulations to MK, who made a late (and accurate) diagnosis of prominent azygos vein
Teaching point: remember that the most common right lower paratracheal masses are either an enlarged azygos vein or mediastinal lymph nodes.

Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook: CASE 144 – SOLVED

Dear Friends,
presenting chest radiograph of a 77-year-old man with malaise and weight loss.
What do you see?

This is the last case before the summer. Will see you again in September. Enjoy your vacation!

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Findings: PA radiograph shows increased opacity of the left hilum (A, arrow), which is due to a mass projected over it, as seen in the lateral view (B, arrows). In addition, there is convexity of the aortopulmonary window (A, red arrow)

The increased hilar opacity (C, arrow) was not visible in a PA radiograph taken six months earlier (D, circle). Convexity of the aortopulmonary window (C, red arrow) was not present at that time.

In the lateral view, the mass (E, arrows) was visible six month earlier, albeit smaller (F, arrow). This progression indicates rapid growth.

Enhanced axial and coronal CT confirms a pulmonary mass invading the aortopulmonary window (G and H, arrows). Lung metastases were present (insert, red arrows)

Diagnosis: lung carcinoma invading the aortopulmonary window

I am presenting this case to discuss the aortopulmonary window (APW), which is a small mediastinal space located between the aortic knob and the pulmonary artery in the PA view (Fig 1A). The APW is normally concave; convexity (Fig 1B) suggests an abnormality that should be studied with enhanced CT.

Fig. 1.

Visibility of the APW is difficult in the elderly, because the superimposed uncoiled descending aorta makes the interpretation more difficult (Fig 2).

Fig 2. 67-year-old man with moderate dyspnea. A calcified lymph node (A-D, red arrows) marks the APW, which is hidden in the PA view by the elongated descending aorta.

Convexity of the APW may be overlooked unless we look specifically at the area (fig 3). The larger the abnormality, the more readily it is detected in the chest radiograph. Subtle changes are more difficult to identify and comparing with previous films is very helpful.

Fig. 3. 55-year-old man consulting for acute chest pain. PA film shows two Hampton humps in the right lower lung (A, white arrows). The left hilum is abnormal (A, red arrow). Enhanced coronal CT confirms the infarcts (B, white arrows), as well as a pulmonary mass (B, red arrow) and lymphadenopathy in the APW (B, yellow arrow). Findings were overlooked in a radiograph taken seven months earlier (C, yellow and red arrows). Proven bronchogenic carcinoma.

Causes that may alter the APW are: tumors, enlarged lymph nodes, aortic aneurysms and increased mediastinal fat. The phrenic nerve crosses this space and a phrenic neurinoma may also grow in the APW, although I have never seen a case.

Enlarged lymph nodes are by far the most common cause of occupation of the APW. They may occur in malignant and non-malignant diseases. They usually coexist with radiographic manifestations of the primary process (Figs 4 and 5).

Fig 4. 59-year-old man with apical LUL carcinoma (A and B, arrows). There is a marked bulge of the APW (A and B, red arrows). Moderate pneumothorax after needle biopsy.

Coronal and axial CT confirm metastatic lymph nodes in the APW (C and D, red arrows)

Fig 5. 33-year-old woman with low-grade fever and malaise. Chest radiographs shows a non-descript infiltrate in the anterior segment of the RUL (A and B, arrows). In addition, there is a prominent bulge in the APW, highly suspicious of lymphadenopathy (A, red arrow). Diagnosis: Hodgkin lymphoma.

In isolated occupation of the APW the etiology cannot be determined in the chest radiograph and enhanced CT should be obtained (fig 6).

Fig 6. Routine check-up in a 60-year-old woman. PA radiograph shows moderate convexity of the APW (A, arrow). Enhanced CT confirms enlarged lymph nodes in the APW (B and C, arrows), mediastinum and hila. Diagnosis: sarcoidosis

Aortic aneurysm is an uncommon cause of convexity of the APW (Fig 7). The abnormality is initially subtle and it becomes more evident as the aneurysm grows (Fig 8).

Fig 7. 78-year-old man without significant symptoms. PA radiograph shows a mediastinal mass protruding at the level of the APW (A and C arrows). The mass is also evident in the lateral view (B and D, arrows).

Radiographs taken five years earlier did not show the abnormality (E and F, circles).

Enhanced axial and coronal CT demonstrate that the mass represents a saccular aneurysm arising from the aortic arch (G and H, arrows).

Fig 8. 78-year-old man after a fall. PA radiograph shows numerous rib fractures (A, white arrows). An additional finding is a mediastinal opacity at the APW (A, red arrow), also visible in the lateral view (B, red arrow).

Comparison with previous films shows a normal APW in 2007 and progression of the opacity over a three-year period (arrows).

Enhanced CT shows that the opacity represents a partially thrombosed aneurysm arising from the inferior aspect of the aortic arch (C-D and E, arrows).

Last but not least, we should remember that mediastinal fat is an innocuous cause of convexity of the APW (Fig 9).

Fig 9. Asymptomatic 57-year-old man with superior mediastinal widening (A, arrow) and discrete convexity of the APW (A, red arrow). Coronal CT shows that the changes are due to mediastinal fat (B and C, arrows).

Follow Dr. Pepe’s advice:

1. Convexity of the APW suggests underlying pathology.

2. Enlarged lymph nodes are the most common cause of a convex APW.

3. Aneurysm and mediastinal fat may also enlarge the APW

Cáceres’ Corner Case 208 – SOLVED!

Dear Friends,

Presenting today radiographs of a 65-year-old man with back pain.

What do you see?

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Findings: PA chest radiograph shows an ill-defined opacity in the right middle lung field (A, asterisk), located in the anterior clear space in the lateral view (B, arrows). The anterior arch of the 4th right rib is missing.

A cone down view demonstrates an expanding lytic lesion in the anterior arch of the 4th right rib (C, asterisk), confirmed with CT (D and E, red arrows).

I thought this was an easy case, but I am disappointed because some of you missed a collapsed vertebra (F, circle), not present three years earlier (G, circle). Sagittal CT confirms it as well as additional affectation of L1 and posterior elements of D10 (H, red arrows).

In a patient with a port-a-cath, the presence of multiple lytic lesion suggests metastatic disease as the first possibility.
Final diagnosis: Carcinoma of esophagus with bone metastases

Congratulations to Andy, who was the first and to Archana Reddy.t who discovered the collapsed vertebra.

Teaching point: this case is similar to the previous one and the teaching point is the same: look at the underlying rib. And, above all, don’t forget to examine the rest of the bones!

Cáceres’ Corner Case 207 – SOLVED!

Dear Friends, 

Today I am presenting a case given to me by my good friend José Luis López Moreno. The PA radiograph belongs to a 77-year-old woman with pain in the right hemithorax.
What do you see?

More images will be shown on Wednesday.

Dear Friends,

showing today axial and coronal CT.
What do you think?

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Findings: PA radiographs shows an ovoid opacity in the right lung (A, arrow), that parallels the path of the anterior ribs. Careful observation demonstrates that the third and fifth anterior ribs are visible (B, red arrows), whereas the anterior fourth rib is absent (B, asterisks). An additional finding is moderated flattening of D11 and D12 (A, circle). The findings suggest multicentric bone lesions.

Enhanced axial and coronal CT confirm a lytic expanding lesion of the anterior fourth rib (C and D, arrows), better seen in the 3-D reconstructions (E and F, arrows).

In an adult, lytic expanding rib lesions are usually either metastases (thyroid, renal cell carcinoma) or multiple myeloma. Further studies confirmed a myeloma.
Final diagnosis: multiple myeloma affecting the right fourth rib and several thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.
Congratulations to Wafaa who suggested the diagnosis in the plain film and to VL who discovered the collapsed vertebrae.
Teaching point: remember to look at the underlying rib when facing a pleural/chest wall lesion. An affected rib will narrow down your diagnostic options. And don’t forget satisfaction of search (collapsed vertebrae in this case).