Radiology & Imaging

Nov 162011

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension is a “new” condition (in terms of our recognition and understanding of it), whose true prevalence, natural history, and response to therapies continue to be elucidated. Meanwhile, specialized surgical centers continually make thromboendarterectomy safer, providing definitive cures that are nothing short of miraculous for those affected by this otherwise usually fatal [… read more]

Nov 012011

More than 40 small, middling-quality studies (n~80, some randomized) showing inconsistent results as to whether antioxidant therapy with acetylcysteine or other drugs reduces the risk for contrast nephropathy / acute kidney injury after angiography or CT-angiography. A 2008 meta-analysis concluded Mucomyst was helpful, reducing risk of nephropathy by almost 40% vs saline alone. However, the authors noted [… read more]

Oct 302011

Lucassen et al sharpened their pencils and tried to combine in a meta-analysis 52 studies (n=55,268) that examined the success of methods of using “gestalt” (subjective impression) or clinical decision rules (Wells, Geneva or revised Geneva scores) to diagnose acute pulmonary embolism. The punchline (and their unstated but implied conclusion) is, we just can’t safely [… read more]

Oct 302011

How many licks does it take to get to the middle of a Tootsie Roll Pop? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? And that other timeless mystery: How many airways do patients with COPD have, how narrowed are they, and what is the relationship between said narrowing, coexisting emphysematous destruction, [… read more]

Oct 292011

While we were screening our heavy smokers for lung cancer with chest CTs, the Dutch and Belgians have been screening their own (in the NELSON trial, which will report results in 2015). They double-dipped their imaging data here to ask the question, how good is chest CT at identifying undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? 1,140 [… read more]

Oct 272011

Resection of isolated pulmonary metastasis resulted in surprising longevity in this study by Hornbech et al. They report a series of 248 patients, 97% of whom had a complete resection of their pulmonary metastasis, following them for an average of 5 years. The five year survival rates after pulmonary metastasectomy were as follows: Colorectal cancer: [… read more]

Oct 072011

Zhang et al pooled 20 studies that compared ultrasound, chest X-ray, or both against a reference standard (usually CT scan) for the diagnosis of pneumothorax. Chest X-ray had a pooled sensitivity of 52% and specificity 99% for diagnosis of pneumothorax. Ultrasound’s pooled sensitivity was 88% and specificity, 100%. Unsurprisingly, the accuracy of ultrasonography to diagnose [… read more]

Oct 012011

Deppen et al report that PET-CT’s specificity for lung cancer was only 40% among 211 patients undergoing resection for presumed lung cancer at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN, an area endemic for histoplasmosis. Twenty-two of 43 benign nodules were granulomas; most were positive on PET-CT (~60%). Ann Thorac Surg 2011;92:428-433.

Sep 292011

Increasing urine output should reduce the risk for contrast nephropathy, as should hustling contrast metal past vulnerable Na-K-Cl transporters using loop diuretics. However, furosemide alone increases the risk for contrast nephropathy. Some hypothesized that was due to diuretic-induced hypovolemia. Briguori et al report results of REMEDIAL-II. They randomized ~300 patients at very high risk for [… read more]

Aug 062011

Darling et al report findings from the Early Lung PET trial for non-small cell lung cancer. PET-CT had 70% sensitivity and 94% specificity for identifying cancerous mediastinal lymph nodes (with invasive staging as the reference standard). Sounds good. However, among the 22 patients with PET-CT scans positive for mediastinal nodes, 8 did not have cancer [… read more]

Jul 032011

Fragou et al randomized 401 ICU patients to undergo subclavian vein central line placement with guidance either by ultrasound or anatomic landmarks. All cannulations were with an infraclavicular approach. The ultrasound group had a higher success rate (100% vs 87.5%), shorter time to access and fewer number of attempts, and a lower rate of complications. [… read more]

Jun 192011

In severe congestive heart failure, lymphatic drainage can increase 10-fold. Pastis et al hypothesize this could result in enlarged mediastinal lymph nodes. They retrospectively examined chest CT scans for 118 patients undergoing heart transplantation. Fifty-three had mediastinal LNs > 1 cm. In the 9 who had post-transplant CT scans available, mediastinal lymph nodes shrank after [… read more]

Jun 152011

Douma et al compared the Wells score, Geneva score, and the simplified versions of each, combined with D-dimer, on a prospective cohort of 807 patients with suspected PE (~23% of whom were found to have PE). With a negative D-dimer and a low-probability score using any rule, risk of pulmonary embolism was ~0.5%. However, only [… read more]

Jun 142011

Salaun et al publish their experience using a simple algorithm for management of 321 consecutive patients with suspected pulmonary embolism at one center in France. The tool sought to avoid CT-angiography (and associated radiation) wherever possible, instead favoring leg ultrasounds and ventilation-perfusion scans. Only the indeterminate cases (a mere 35, or 11%) underwent CT-A. In [… read more]

Jun 122011

The New York Times reported that hundreds of community hospitals frequently perform two chest CT scans back-to-back (one with, one without IV contrast), while academic centers almost never do. More than 70,000 patients were double-scanned; some hospitals did it >80% of the time on their Medicare chest patients. Defenders say they don’t do it to [… read more]

May 242011

Canessa et al observed 17 people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea and 15 age-matched healthy controls, performing sleep studies, cognitive testing, and MRIs on all. At baseline, OSA patients had shrinkage in brain areas responsible for memory and executive function (hippocampus, posterior parietal cortex, and superior frontal gyrus, as quantitated by voxel based morphometry) and were neurocognitively impaired [… read more]