Multidetector CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) has become the standard technique utilized to diagnose pulmonary embolus (PE). Current literature has demonstrated that CTPA is excellent for the assessment of various cardiopulmonary pathologies as well. Our study was performed to identify, catalogue and determine the frequency of common cardiopulmonary findings in a determined patient population.
CTPA and corresponding medical records of nearly 750 consecutive patients who underwent CTPA for PE at our institution between January 2005 and September 2005 were retropectively reviewed. All studies were re-evaluated by a team of one thoracic radiologist and two radiology residents. Correlative data, treatment outcome and short-term follow-up were used to confirm these findings and diagnoses.
Cardiopulmonary pathologies were readily present in our patient population. Of these findings, pneumonia and emphysema were the most common. Other common findings included congestive heart failure, pulmonary fibrosis and coronary artery disease. Furthermore, cardiopulmonary findings which offered alternative and/or different diagnoses to explain the patients’ symptoms were present in nearly one third of cases.
Nearly all patients with suspected PE frequently present with chest pain and/or dyspnea. However, these symptoms are nonspecific and can often signal cardiopulmonary pathology. CTPA, a technique which has wide-gained acceptance in the evaluation of PE, offers the additional benefit of allowing excellent assesment of cardiopulmonary structures in this population. Abnormalities such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure and exacerbated emphysema are readily apparent on CTPA studies.
It is crucial for radiologists to include a systematic evaluation of the cardiopulmonary structures in their CTPA seach patterns.
Shalin Amin, None.