Artifactual hemithorax white-out and aortic knuckle calcification

Case contributed by Anne Marie Bonnici Mallia


80 year old gentleman presented with a GI bleed to the acute medical team. PMH Diabetes, Stroke with residual left sided weakness, HTN. On examination chest was clear. CXR taken to check for air under the diaphragm in case of GI perforation

Patient Data

Age: 80
Gender: Male

Noted what initially appeared to be whiteout of the left side of the lung. Additionally there appeared to be calcification of the aortic knuckle.

The patient denied any breathing problems, SOB, purulent sputum or haematemesis. Chest was re-examined and was clear.

Noted on further inspection that whiteout of the lung was caused by superimposition of left hand and forearm over the chest. He could not move these himself due to residual weakness from his previous stroke. "Calcification of aortic knuckle" was noted to be the patient's ring. 

Repeat chest x-ray demonstrates no acute changes. 

Case Discussion

Being aware of artifacts on chest x-ray is important as not misdiagnose and misdirect patient care. 

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Case information

rID: 40276
Published: 15th Oct 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Excluded

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