Case contributed by Assoc Prof Frank Gaillard


Poor exercise tolerance.

Patient Data

Age: 85 years
Gender: Female

Chest x-ray

PA and lateral chest x-rays demonstrate markedly enlarged cardiac silhouette. There is a double contour to the right heart border and splaying of the carina. 

The aorta is somewhat ectatic. There are no overt features of congestive cardiac failure at this time.  

Annotated image

Annotated outines and CT

Contours - Splayed carina (red), and double contour. When correlated to the CT it is evident that the most lateral contour is due to the right atrium (blue) and the more medial contour due to the left atrium (orange).

Single image from a CT (obtained for unrelated reasons) at the level of the heart confirms cardiomegaly, with dilatation of all chambers (the left atrium most prominent). No pericardial effusion. 

Annotated image

Cardiothoracic ratio

Figure 1: annotated x-ray of this same patient

Cardiothoracic ratio is measured on a PA chest x-ray, and is the ratio of:

  1. maximal horizontal cardiac diameter
  2. maximal horizontal thoracic diameter (inner edge of ribs / edge of pleura)

Figure 2: A normal measurement should be less than 0.5. 

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Case information

rID: 12334
Published: 10th Nov 2010
Last edited: 2nd Oct 2020
System: Cardiac, Chest
Tag: cxr
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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