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 245 – SOLVED

Dear friends, Dr Pepe has eloped with Miss Piggy (again) and has let me alone, holding the fort. Hope he will be back in time to give the next webinar.

Today’s radiographs belong to a 60-year-old male with cough and moderate dyspnea.

Diagnosis:

1. Hilar lymphadenopathy
2. Right pulmonary artery aneurysm
3. Mediastinal tumor
4. None of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA and lateral chest radiographs show a right hilar mass (A-B, arrows). In my opinion, the appearance of the mass and its location in the right hilum in the lateral view rules out a mediastinal mass.
There is a small nodule in the RUL (A, red arrow) that can be overlooked unless we look for it

The nodule is better seen in the cone down view and the axial CT (C-D, red arrows), with high SUV in the PET-CT (E, arrow), accompanied by a metastatic node in the mediastinum (E, circle).

Caudal slices of enhanced CT show multiple lymph nodes in right hilum (F, arrow) and mediastinum (G, circle).

Biopsy of a lymph node returned as metastatic carcinoma.

Final diagnosis: carcinoma of the lung with mediastinal metastases

Congratulations to archanareddyt who was the only one to discover the RUL nodule

Teaching point: this is an interesting case for educational purposes.
1. Knowing the most common causes of unilateral hilar enlargement (lymph nodes vs. enlarged artery) helps the differential diagnosis.
2. We should think of common processes rather than unusual ones (lymph nodes vs. aneurysm).
3.  Suspecting unilateral hilar lymph nodes leads to search for the two more common etiologies (TB or carcinoma) leading to the discovery of the RUL nodule.

Hope the case was useful!

Neuroradiology #24 – Flashcard

89-year-old female patient with aplastic anemia. Showing CT images without contrast media. What do you see?

Click here to see the answer

CT images without contrast media: Subacute isodense right subdural hematoma, revealed with narrowing of right cerebral hemispheric sulci and right lateral ventricle and minimal midline shift (red arrows), acute left subdural hematoma (blue arrow)

Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook 160 – With a webinar! – SOLVED

Dear friends, I am starting a new webinar series entitled “Things that we already know, but are important to remember”. The objective is to refresh basic concepts that often are forgotten.

This week’s webinar title is “Who is afraid of the bad, big lateral chest”. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, September 30 at 12:00 CEST. You can register here.

The initial case is a PA chest radiograph of a 61-year-old man with hemoptysis.

Do you see any abnormality?
1. Yes
2. No
3. I want a lateral chest

Register for the webinar and lear more about this case and others!

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA radiograph (A) does not show any significant findings. The lateral view shows a posterior pulmonary nodule with irregular contour (B, arrow). A typical donut sign is visible (B, circle), indicative of enlarged subcarinal lymph nodes.

Enhanced axial CT and PET-CT show confirm the pulmonary nodule (C-D, arrows) and the subcarinal lymphadenopathies (C-D, red arrows).

Final diagnosis:

Carcinoma hidden in the PA view behind the right hilum with metastases to subcarinal lymph nodes.
 
Congratulations to drpeca who was the first to want a lateral view.
 
Teaching point: remember that about 26% of the lung is hidden in the PA view. A lateral chest radiograph is indispensable to study the chest.

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

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.

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?

Diagnosis:

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).

TUBULAR BRANCHING OPACITIES + INCREASED LUNG LUCENCY = SEGMENTAL BRONCHIAL OBSTRUCTION

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.

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.

Neuroradiology #22 – Flashcard

What do you see on these images?

Click here to see the answer

Oligodendroglioma

CT scan shows a large calcified lesion. MRI shows a large cortical-based high T2 lesion with cystic component and dark T2 foci corresponding to the calcifications. Post-contrast images show patchy enhancing areas.  

Differential Diagnosis

DNET (usually may calcify) ganglioglioma (cystic areas, enhancing solid component, may calcify).