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What’s Wrong: Answer

June 6, 2018

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CT Chest

There is air in the pulmonary artery!  This is an air embolus (probably iatrogenic from the IV contrast injection).

CT chest 2

Turns out there is also some air in the right ventricle.  Keep air embolism in mind as a very rare complication to imaging with IV contrast.

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

 

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What’s wrong?

May 30, 2018

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Here is a fun CT Chest:

CT Chest

Question:  What’s wrong?  Hint:  the aortic dissection is chronic.

Answer to follow.

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

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Anxiety Attack…

May 26, 2015

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This patient presented with the chief complaint of an “anxiety attack.”  They felt short of breath, onset after arguing with another person, and they had a history of panic attacks in the past.  Here’s what we found…

Saddle Embolus 1 Saddle embolus 2 Saddle embolus 3

This is a scary pathology that is on the differential of panic attack:  saddle pulmonary embolus.

“Saddle” refers to a main pulmonary artery involvement.  In the images above you can see a filling defect just as the main pulmonary artery branches off to the right and left sides (see red arrow below).

saddle-embolus-3 (edit)

Large main pulmonary emboli are life threatening diagnoses that can easily progress to sudden death.

History of present illness in this patient screamed panic disorder.  However, we had some clinical clues that altered the direction of the case:  hypoxia to the high 80s, tachycardia, and an EKG with a right axis.  On review of systems the patient said she had had vague calf pain over the last week.  Thus we ended up pursuing CT imaging as opposed to treating her “panic attack” with benzodiazepines…good call!

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

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Aortic dissection…

June 16, 2014

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This patient presented with chest pain radiating to the back:

AD CXR 1

 

The patient’s initial chest X-ray shows a widened mediastinum and an indistinct aortopulmonary window.  CT showed:

AD CT 1 AD CT 2 AD CT 3

This patient has an aortic dissection.  There are two different classification systems for aortic dissection:  Stanford and DeBakey (1).

Stanford Criteria:

  • Type A:  The dissection flap involves the ascending aorta
  • Type B:  The dissection commences distal to the left sub-clavian artery

DeBakey Criteria

  • Type I: The dissection flap involves the ascending aorta and descending aorta
  • Type II:  The dissection flap involves the ascending aorta only
  • Type III:  The dissection flap involves the descending aorta only

This is a Stanford Type A and a Debakey Type I because it involves the ascending aortic arch all the way to the iliac bifurcation.

What is important to remember (besides the number for a cardiothoracic surgeon)?  If the flap involves the ascending aorta these are usually managed operatively. Descending dissections are many times managed medically (1).

Besides rupture, the main problem with aortic dissection is perfusion to various organs.  Virtually every solid organ can be affected depending on the spacial characteristics of the dissection flap.  In this case the last image clearly shows that the right kidney is not perfused, indicating that the dissection flap has occluded the right renal artery.  The kidneys and bowel are the most common organs to develop ischemia.

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

Image Contributor:  Jay Williams, MD

References

  1. Broder JS.  Diagnostic Imaging for the Emergency Physician.  Elsevier, 2011.
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Multifocal opacities…

May 12, 2014

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A patient presented to the ED with flu-like symptoms in the height of flu season:

multifocal opacities

Chest CT:

Multifocal opacities CT 2 Multifocal opacities CT

The CT demonstrates multifocal opacities with some cavitation on the larger lesions.  There seems to be a peripheral and lower-lobe predominence.  This could represent atypical pneumonia (legionella, mycoplasma, chlamydia), fungal pneumonia (cocciodomycosis, histoplasmosis, aspergillosis), miliary tuberculosis, metastatic lesions or carcinomatosis, septic emboli, or viral pneumonia.

After a significant inpatient workup the final diagnosis was Human Metapneumovirus.  All others were ruled out and viral testing revealed this culprit.

Image contributors:  David Barnes, MD and Julie Phan, MD

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

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Further images of interesting central line complication…

April 19, 2014

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Last post was concerning an uncommon central line complication with the line passing into the mediastinum through the inferior brachiocephalic vein.  One astute observer asked for more information about the case, see the comments posted (very interesting fluoro experience with this type of  complication).  Here are some further images of the traversing the mediastinum very close to the aorta and the tip ends up near a pleural effusion on that side. 

Abberrent central line Aberrent Central line 1

Interestingly this patient had a vascular surgery consult.  The line actually passed through the IJ near the line insertion, tracked down the neck near the IJ and brachiocephalic,  and into the mediastinum.  The pleural effusion was from another process.  Fortunately the line was removed and no further problems were encountered. 

Unfortunately this was another team that placed the line so I don’t have information on the actual difficulty in placing the line, confirmation of venous flow once placed, etc. 

Thanks for the comments.

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

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Multiple masses chest..

April 3, 2014

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Late 20s male presents with shortness of breath…

Chest masses Chest masses CT

This Xray and CT show a phenomena called “Cannonball Metastases.”  This refers to innumerable descreet masses in the chest.  Two tumors are highly suspected in this case: renal cell carcinoma and choriocarcinoma.   Others that have a higher prediliction to multiple lung mets are prostate, endometrial, and synovial sarcoma (1). 

This patient ended up having a choriocarcinoma of the testes. 

Image Contributors:  Kevin Murphy, MD and Mary Bing, MD

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

References:

1.  Knipe H, Bickle I, et al.  Cannonball Metastases. www.radiopaedia.org

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Interesting finding on “Pan Scan”…

January 24, 2014

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The trauma “Pan Scan” has been a controversial topic for a while now.  “Pan Scan” has multiple meanings but is usually some combination of head, c-spine, chest and abdomen CT imaging to identify serious traumatic related injuries.  Downsides include cost, radiation, and contrast.  Upsides include early identification of serious trauma including solid organ injuries.  Here is an interesting case that presents an original argument for the “Pan Scan:”

Pills in skin folds 2 Pills in skin folds

This person came in with altered mental status and trauma (single car MVC).  CT identified a large number of hidden pills later identified as an opioid pain medication.  They were hidden in an abdominal fold just above the pubis!

(Disclaimer:  Please don’t misinterpret this as an argument to identify pills with a pan scan.  It would have been much more cost effective to find them on physical exam)

Image Contributor:  Julie Phan, MD

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

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Answer: Can you find the abnormalities?

December 2, 2013

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I gave you this xray a couple days ago, can you find all the abnormalities?

GSW

1.  Intubated into the right mainstem bronchus

2.  Metallic foreign bodies coursing up the left chest to the neck

3.  Completely opacified left lung:  differential diagnosis of pulmonary contusion, hemothorax, or complete atelectasis from right mainstem intubation

4.  There is a chest tube in the right chest cavity, it looks to be in good position but could be coursing into the fissure between the left lobes

5.  Deep sulcus sign on the left side indicates possible pneumothorax vs. hemothorax

6.  Orogastric tube courses below the diaphragm in good position

7.  Subcutaneous emphysema in upper neck

8.  Two radiodense objects in the midline cardiac silhouette near the mid-portion of the coursing orogastric tube

Interestingly, this patient was shot in the chest coursing to the upper neck and the bullet was found in his posterior pharnyx.  He had a tooth found on chest CT (calcified opacity seen below) among other injuries.   Later EGD intraoperatively showed two tooth fragments in the stomach.  The radiodensities seen #8 above were presumed to be these teeth in the esophagus.

Tooth

Image Contributor:  Julie Phan, MD

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

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Massive cardiomegally…

September 30, 2013

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Patient with acromegally has this xray:

Massive cardiomegally 1 Massive cardiomegally 2 Massive cardiomegally 3

These images show some serious cardiomegally.  He incidentally has what appear to be retained metallic fragments that look suspicious for bullets.  Apparently his estimated cardiac “girth” is 2 liters!

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

Image Contributor:  Jay Williams, MD

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