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.

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?

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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.

Cáceres’ Corner Case 197 – SOLVED!

Dear Friends;

Today I am showing a preoperative PA chest radiograph for knee surgery in a 50-year-old woman. More images will be shown on Wednesday.

What do you see?

Click here to see the images published on Monday


Dear Friends,

showing today axial CTs and a cone down view of lesion. Hope they clarify your thoughts.

Click here to see the new images

Click here to see the see the answer

Findings: PA chest radiograph shows a well-defined opacity in the apex of the right lung. There is pleural thickening in the periphery of the opacity (A, arrow) that suggests an extrapulmonary location. There is a chain-like line in the periphery, better seen in the cone down view (A-B, red arrows), which looks like metallic surgical sutures. In addition, an irregular mass is visible in the right upper mediastinum (A-B, yellow arrows).


Discovering metallic sutures raises the possibility of post-surgical changes. It was found that the patient had been treated five years earlier with bullectomy and talc pleurodesis for persistent pneumothorax (C-D, arrows).

Enhanced axial CT at the present time shows a cystic pleural collection surrounded by talc (E, arrow). A caudal paramediastinal clump of talc (F, arrow) explains the right mediastinal mass seen in the plain film.

Final diagnosis: post-operative changes after bullectomy and talc pleurodesis for persistent pneumothorax.
 
Congratulations to Ner, who gave an excellent discussion and discovered the metallic sutures in the plain film.
 
Teaching point: Remember to look carefully at the radiographs. A simple finding, such as discovering metallic sutures, may lead to the correct diagnosis before CT.