Dr. Pepe Case 140 – Art of interpretation – SOLVED!

Dear Friends,

I am presenting today a new “Art of interpretation” case.
Radiographs belong to a 51-year-old with chest pain, dyspnea and D-dimer of 750.

Diagnosis:
1. Pulmonary infarct
2. Pneumonia
3. Chronic pulmonary changes
4. None 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

Findings: the PA radiograph shows an ill-defined opacity in the right mid-lung field (A, white arrows) which looks intrapulmonary. There is blunting of the right costophrenic angle, indicative of pleural disease (A, red arrow).

The main diagnostic findings are seen in the lateral view. There are oblique posterior pulmonary strands (“crow’s feet”) (B, white arrow) which lead our attention to a posterior vertical white line (B, red arrows), which represents calcified pleura.
A negative finding is the absence of pulmonary disease in the lateral view.

These findings are better seen in the cone down views (C and D, arrows) .

Analysis of findings:
1. Apparent pulmonary disease in the PA radiograph
2. No visible pulmonary disease in the lateral view
3. Blunting of costophrenic angle with calcified posterior pleura
4. Crow’s feet

Summing up the findings: The apparent pulmonary disease in the PA view, which was not seen in the lateral view, together with chronic pleural disease (evidenced by blunting of the costophrenic angle and calcified posterior pleura) are highly suggestive of pleural disease simulating a pulmonary infiltrate.

APPARENT PULMONARY DISEASE IN THE PA RADIOGRAPH, NOT SEEN IN THE LATERAL VIEW + CALCIFIED PLEURA IN THE LATERAL VIEW = CALCIFIED PLEURA SIMULATING PULMONARY DISEASE.

Enhanced axial CT confirms the posterior calcified pleura (A, arrow), the lack of pulmonary infiltrate, and the crow’s feet adjacent to the diseased pleura (B, red arrow).
Crow’s feet are better seen in the coronal and sagittal reconstructions (C and D, red arrows), especially the sagittal view, which is practically identical to the lateral chest radiograph.

Final diagnosis: Pleural calcification simulating pulmonary infiltrate

(My heartfelt thanks to Dr. Eva Castañer for providing the CT images)

Pleural calcifications are not uncommon. Bilateral calcifications are almost always related to asbestos exposure. Unilateral calcifications are usually due to a previous infection or hemorrhage. In any case, when located in the anterior or posterior chest wall they are seen en face in the PA radiograph and may be confused with pulmonary infiltrates, as in the present case. Seen in profile in the lateral view they appear as a calcified line, and the diagnosis is then evident.

Sometimes, the calcified pleura are overlooked. In this particular case we have a useful marker that points our attention to the diseased pleura: the radiologic sign known as crow’s feet which represents subsegmental areas of peripheral fibrosis/atelectasis fixed by the fibrotic pleura. They are likely an early stage of rounded atelectasis. (Personally, I prefer the alternative term sun rays rather than crow’s feet. As a frequent visitor to Minorca, I am more familiar with sun rays than with crows, let alone their feet).

To emphasize the deceitful appearance of pleural calcification, I am showing two more cases.

FIRST CASE

Radiographs belong to a 52-year-old asymptomatic woman. The PA radiograph shows what appears to be a poorly-defined pulmonary infiltrate in the left lung (A, arrow). The lateral view shows two calcified pleural plaques: the posterior one is depicted as a calcified line (B, white arrow), whereas the anterior one is more oblique and simulates a rounded opacity (B, red arrow).

Sagittal CT clearly shows the anterior (C, arrow) and posterior plaques (D, arrow). No pulmonary infiltrates were seen in the lung view (not shown).

SECOND CASE

Preoperative PA chest radiograph in a 57-year-old man. There are several opacities in the left hemithorax that may be pulmonary infiltrates (A, white arrows) accompanied by left diaphragmatic and pleural calcifications (A, red arrows).

In the coronal CT (B) there are no lung abnormalities. Enhanced axial and sagittal CTs depict extensive pleural calcification (C and D, arrows). The apparent pulmonary infiltrates were due to pleural calcifications depicted en face. The patient had a history of TB in his youth.


Dr. Pepe’s teaching points:

1. Pleural disease can simulate pulmonary infiltrates.

2. Crow’s feet can direct our attention to overlooked pleural disease

Emergency #10 – Long case

23-year-old male:
* Blunt force trauma of the abdomen
* Patient is hemodynamically stable

What do you see?

Arterial phase

Venous phase

Arterial phase

Venous phase

Click here to see the answer

Findings:

* Linear zone of hypodensity through the pancreatic body on both phases
* Surrounding fluid with relatively high-density retroperitoneal AND intraperitoneal

Note that the pancreas may appear normal in 20%-40% of patients when CT is performed within 12 h after trauma
MRCP may be useful to evaluate the integrity of the pancreatic duct

Pancreatic fracture:

* Complete laceration of the pancreatic body: AAST Grade III
* Require surgery within 24h
* Possible complications: fistula, pseudocyst, pancreatitis, abscesses, hemorrhage, pseudo-aneurysm
* Usually, injuries of other organs as well

Treatment in this case: distal pancreatectomy and closing of main pancreatic duct transsection, discharge to hospital in home country after 2 weeks

Emergency #9 – Long case

60-year-old female:
* Known with hypertension
* Acute pain on the chest
* X-ray
* Abnormal?
* Differential Diagnosis: No.

What should we think of and do next?

Click here to see the answer

Clinically suspect for aortic dissection

What protocol?
Non-enhanced chest CT, followed by CT angiography chest-abdomen

No NECT was made:

Imaging findings and key messages

* Soft tissue surrounding ascending aorta from the root, continuing around the aortic arch and descending aorta
* Between the soft-tissue band and the intraluminal contrast, we see intimal calcifications, these are NOT displaced outwards
* At some spots, there is contrast extravasation in the soft tissue
* No intimal tear or dissection flap is seen
* Slight pericardial effusion

What is the diagnosis?

Click here to see the diagnosis

Aortic intramural hematoma.

Treatment is like an aortic dissection with anti-hypertensive medication. In this case, it is a type A since the mural hematoma is seen proximal to the left subclavian artery, involving the ascending aorta.

Differential Diagnosis

* Thrombosed false lumen in classic aortic dissection: Typically spirals longitudinally around the aorta, whereas an intramural haematoma usually maintains a constant circumferential relationship with the aortic wall

* Aortitis: Typically shows concentric uniform thickening of the aortic wall with or without peri-aortic inflammatory stranding, whereas an intramural haematoma is often eccentric in configuration

Treatment/Prognosis

* If an intramural haematoma involves the ascending aorta (Stanford A), treatment is surgical to prevent rupture and progression to a classic aortic dissection

* Conservative management is indicated for an intramural haematoma of the descending aorta (Stanford B)
* 77% of intramural haematomas regress at 3 years
* Survival of >90% at 5 years

* Untreated, an intramural haematoma can be life-threatening as it can lead to: aortic rupture, aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm.

Emergency #8 – Long case

83-year-old man with:
* Painful swelling in the right groin
* No fever
* Nausea but no vomiting, difficulty passing stools
* Swelling not reducible

What do you see? Is it an incarcerated inguinal hernia?

Click here to see the images


Click here to see the answer

Imaging findings

* Right-sided inguinal hernia with intestines inside
* Mechanical small bowel obstruction proximal of hernia
* Normal enhancement of the bowel wall

No signs of ischemia.

Differential diagnosis

Mechanical small bowel obstruction: Adhesions/bands–volvulus–internal hernia–obstructing tumour/tumoural implants–other hernia’s–congenital or acquired stenosis

Groin swelling: Adenopathy–femoral hernia–psoas abscess–retracted testicle

Management

If no signs of ischemia are present:
* Careful manual reduction attempt
* If not successful: emergency surgery (risk of strangulation)

If signs of ischemia are present:
* Emergency surgery

Key points

Incarceration only means the hernia is not reducible and does not say anything about the content. An incarcerated inguinal hernia can also contain abdominal fat without bowel loops

Incarcerated hernia can turn into strangulated hernia and lead to small bowel obstruction

Carefully inspect the enhancement of the implicated loop of small bowel

Lack of enhancement is an early sign of ischemia (strangulation) and an indication for urgent surgery

Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook: CASE 138 – MEET THE EXAMINER

Dear Friends,

in the aftermath of the European Congress of Radiology a have elected to show a new “Meet the Examiner” presentation, with questions and answers similar to a real examination. You will get the final answer at the end of the presentation.

Take your time before seeking the answer.

This case starts with a preoperative PA chest radiograph of a 52-year-old man. No other information was provided in the request. What do you see?

Click here to see the answer

Findings: PA radiograph shows an obvious convexity of the left paraspinal line (arrow). There is an abnormal opacity in the periphery of the right lung (circle), which may be related to the rib cage.

Click here to obtain more information

After seeing the chest radiograph, we looked into the case further and discovered that the patient was scheduled for biopsy of a collapsed mid-thoracic vertebra, which would explain the bulging of the paraspinal line. Below is the MRI study. What would be your diagnosis?
1. Aggressive hemangioma
2. Metastases
3. Myeloma
4. Any of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: The eighth thoracic vertebra is flattened, impinging on the spinal canal. There is a central lesion in D7 and a smaller one in the anterior aspect of D5. (arrows). The findings were interpreted as an aggressive hemangioma at D8 and smaller hemangiomas at C7 and C5. A CT was requested to obtain more information.

Click here to see the CT

Axial, coronal and sagittal CT images are shown. What would be your diagnosis?

1. Aggressive hemangioma
2. Metastases
3. Myeloma
4. Any of the above

Click here to see the answer

Findings: axial CT (A) shows the typical “polka dot” appearance of vertebral hemangioma.
Coronal and sagittal views demonstrate the collapsed vertebra (B and C, white arrows) with a soft-tissue mass (B, red arrow) which explains the finding in the chest radiograph. A punched-out cortical lesion in D5 was overlooked (C, yellow arrow).

Click here to see more studies

In the meantime, we were concerned about the abnormal right peripheral opacity seen in the chest radiograph. Oblique views of the right hemithorax were taken. What do you see?

Click here to see the answer

Findings: the right oblique view shows what appears to be an old rib fracture accompanied by pleural thickening (A, white arrow). A serendipitous finding is the discovery of lytic lesions in the scapula (A, red arrows). The left oblique view also shows a lytic lesion in the right humerus (B, arrow).

The findings in the oblique chest radiographs prompted a review of the spinal CT. Numerous punched-out cortical lesions that had been overlooked were noted (arrows). This discovery suggested widespread malignant bone infiltration. Given that the patient was in good general condition, multiple myeloma was the first diagnostic choice. Vertebral biopsy provided the final diagnosis of myeloma.

Final diagnosis: multiple myeloma invading a vertebral hemangioma

Vertebral hemangioma is the most common vascular lesion of the spine and is present in about 10% of the population. The favored location is the mid-thoracic spine. In this particular patient we suspect that an unrelated multiple myeloma had invaded a previous vertebral hemangioma, causing collapse of the vertebral body. This responds to the concept of locus minoris resistentia, in this context referring to organs or regions that for some reason are more vulnerable than others. In this case, the wide vascular spaces and increased blood supply of the hemangioma may have facilitated implantation of malignant cells.

The typical appearance of coarse trabeculae (polka dot) of the original hemangioma, plus satisfaction of search were the reasons for the initial misdiagnosis of invasive hemangioma. The findings in the plain films of the chest were decisive to reconsider the diagnosis, leading to a review of the cross-sectional studies and the correct diagnosis.


Follow Dr. Pepe’s advice:

1. Remember Dr. Pepe’s words of wisdom (Diploma case 132): Don’t let one abnormal finding keep you from looking for another

2. Sometimes, plain films have an important role in the diagnosis.

EDiR Question of the Day 2019: #2

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 that will take place at the ECR 2020.

Regarding fungal infections. Which of the following statements are correct?

Please, click here to enter your answer and solve the question before 13:30!

Winner will be announced here, on the EBR blog, at 14:30.

Good luck!

EDiR Question of the Day 2019: #1

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 that will take place at the ECR 2020.

Regarding a 65-year-old male with abnormal US findings is referred for CT:

What is the most likely diagnosis?

Please, click here to enter your answer and solve the question before 13:30!

Winner will be announced here, on the EBR blog, at 14:30.

Good luck!