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Skinfold artifact

Case contributed by Sagar Dodhia
Diagnosis almost certain

Presentation

Sepsis of unknown source. To exclude pneumonia.

Patient Data

Age: 70 years
Gender: Male

AP Chest Radiograph

x-ray

Normal cardiomediastinal contours. The lungs are clear with no focal collapse or consolidation. No pleural effusion. No pneumothorax. Bilateral skinfolds noted.

Case Discussion

Skinfold artifact can give a false appearance of a pneumothorax. In this case, the following features help to distinguish a skinfold artifact from a pneumothorax:

  • the skinfolds do not follow the expected course of pleura in a pneumothorax
  • the presence of vascular lung markings extending beyond the skinfold margin 

Case courtesy of Dr. Carla Goncalves.

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