Adult chest radiograph common exam pathology is essential to consider in the build up to radiology exams. The list of potential diagnoses is apparently endless, but there are some favourites that seem to appear with more frequency.
When dealing with the adult chest radiograph in the exam setting, it is key to determine where the pathology is and separate your lists out from there.
If the pathology is parenchymal, consider which pattern it fits into.
An old favourite and often used as a starting film to get you settled. Don't muck it up! And don't try and make it more difficult than it is. While there are five classic lobar collapses to choose from, it would appear that three are commonly used:
- right upper lobe collapse
left upper lobe collapse
- as the lobe collapses, it appears as a veil-like shadow over the left hemithorax
- there may be associated hyper-expansion of the superior segment of the left lower lobe
- see left upper lobe collapse in the exam
- left lower lobe collapse
Make sure that you use correct chest radiograph terminology when describing pathology and remember that there is more than one differential for air-space opacification - in real life, it will almost always be pneumonia, but in the exam... think again.
It is very unlikely that you will be given a simple lobar pneumonia so look more closely - is there associated pleural fluid, cavitation or associated pathology, e.g. rib destruction. Remember that consolidation is just air-space filled with solid material.
- pus, e.g. pulmonary infection
- strange to get a simple lobar pneumonia, so look for accompanying signs
- Pneumocystis pneumonia: peri-hilar patchy opacification
- tuberculosis: can have any appearance
- Klebsiella pneumoniae pneumonia: confluent consolidation with bulging fissures
- Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia: cavitation
- aspiration pneumonia: alcohol misuse, debilitating neurological disorder, recent fall or immobility
- fluid, e.g. pulmonary oedema
- blood, e.g. pulmonary haemorrhage
- cells, e.g. bronchoalveolar carcinoma
- an exam favourite that can have any appearance
- may be patchy or confluence, unilateral or bilateral
Cavitating lung lesion
The cavitating lung lesion is a common film to be shown in the exam, and you need to get your eye in to spot it. Cavitation can often be subtle, so double check any area of airspace opacification closely - it will change your differential completely.
- infective cavitation
- most commonly Staphylococcus aureus infection
- neoplastic cavitation
- think primary squamous cell bronchial carcinoma or squamous, colonic or sarcoma metastases
- granulomatous disease
- traumatic aortic injury
This is a bit of a mammoth project, which I'll finish later:
- septal lines
- lung cysts
- fibrosis (with and without lobar predilection)
- differential transradience