Medical devices in the thorax

Medical devices in the thorax are regularly observed by radiologists when reviewing radiographs and CTs.

These devices are a common cause of artifacts and may trip the unwary, but in general are recognized for what they are.

The following are more important to be recognized by the radiologist:

  • thoracostomy tubes
    • usually placed anterosuperiorly to drain pneumothorax, and posteroinferiorly to drain pleural effusion
    • a well-positioned tube should lie between visceral and parietal pleura, and there should not be any kinking
    • to check the correct positioning, frequently AP and lateral views are required. Supplemental CT scan may also be performed.
    • should not enter the interlobar fissure, else it may be blocked 1; tip should not be within the lung parenchyma or subcutaneous tissue
  • pigtail catheter: used in empyema drainage
  • Heimlich valve: it is a one-way valve used for pleural space drainages, which prevents the return of gases or fluids into the pleural space
  • plombage: "ping-pong ball" plombage and wax plombage (historically used for tuberculosis, but no longer)
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Article information

rID: 16432
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Medical devices in chest
  • Medical devices in the chest
  • Medical devices in the thoracic cavity
  • Medical devices of chest
  • Medical devices of the chest

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: breast implants on lateral radiograph
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  • Case 2: esophageal stent
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  • Case 3: hypoglossal nerve stimulator
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  • Case 4: Mitraclip
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  • Case 5: aortic and mitral prosthetic valves
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  • Case 6: pacemaker
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  • Case 7: biventricular cardiac pacemaker
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  • Case 8: ASD closure device
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  • Case 9: embolization coils
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  • Case 10: implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD)
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  • Case 11: congenital pulmonary valve stenosis
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  • Case 12: cardiac event recorder
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  • Pulmonary edema a...
    Case 13: intra-aortic balloon pump
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  • Case 14: left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
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  • Case 15: left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
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  • Case 16: Amplatz occluder device
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  • Describe all hard...
    Case 17: intra-aortic balloon pump
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  • Case 18: Amplatz occluder
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  • Zoomed epicardial...
    Case 19: epicardial pacing wires
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  •  Case 20: embolization coils
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  • Case 21: deep brain pulse stimulator
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  • Case 22: scoliosis clips
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  • Case 23: pericardiocentesis catheter
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  • Case 24: ASD closure device
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  • Case 25: displaced pacemaker lead
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  • Case 26: epicardial patch
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  • Case 27: breast implants
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  • Case 28: chest port
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  • Case 29: rib ORIF
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  • Case 30: wireless pH probe
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  • Case 31: cooling blanket
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  • Zoomed in view.
    Case 32: Passy-Muir valve
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  • Case 33: 24 hour ambulatory impedance pH test
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  • Case 34: plombage
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  • Case 35: antibiotic spacer
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  • Case 36: left atrial appendage occlusion device
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  • Case 37: pre-sternal peritoneal dialysis catheter
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  • Case 38: Impella LVAD
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  • Case 39: pulmonary stents
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  • Case 40: lung volume reduction coils
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  • Case 41: phrenic nerve stimulators
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  • Case 42: breast tissue expander implants
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  • Case 43: left atrial appendage clip
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  • Case 44: Dobhoff tube
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  • Case 45: Sengstaken-Blakemore tube
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  • Case 46: infusaport with infusothorax
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  • Case 47: Heimlich valve
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  • Case 48: wearable external defibrillator
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  • Case 49: Parachute device
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  • endobronchial val...
    Case 50: endobronchial valves for emphysema
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  • Case 51: bronchial endovalve
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  • Case 52: VV ECMO
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  • Casse 53: double lumen cannula for VV ECMO
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  • Case 54: esophageal manometer
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  • Case 55: Watchman device
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  • Case 56: pH probe
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  • Case 57: PDA closure device
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  • Case 58: Minnesota tube
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  • Case 59: Fish Glassman viscera retainer
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  • Case 60: pectus excavatum treated with Nuss bar
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  • Case 61: PDA closure device
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  • Case 62: CardioMEMS device
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