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Interpreting Chest X-Rays

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Table of Contents

1. Technique 1.1 Techniques available 2. Anatomy 2.1 Frontal CXR 2.2 Lateral CXR 2.3 Normal variants 3. In-built errors of interpretation 3.1 The eye-brain apparatus 3.2 The snapshot 3.3 Image misinterpretation 3.4 Satisfaction of search 3.5 Ignoring the ribs 4. The fundamentals of CXR interpretation 4.1 The silhouette sign 4.2 Suggested scheme for CXR viewing 4.3 Review areas 4.4 Pitfalls 5. Pattern recognition 5.1 Collapses 5.2 Ground glass opacity 5.3 Consolidation 5.4 Masses 5.5 Nodules 5.6 Lines 5.7 Cavities 6. Abnormalities of the thoracic cage and chest wall 6.1 Pectus excavatum 6.2 Scoliosis 6.3 Kyphosis 6.4 Bone lesions 6.5 Chest wall / thoracic inlet 6.6 Thoracoplasty 7. Lung tumours 7.1 CXR features of malignant tumours 7.2 CXR features of benign tumours 7.3 Metastases 7.4 Bronchial carcinoma 7.5 The solitary pulmonary nodule 8. Pneumonias 8.1 Pulmonary tuberculosis 8.2 Pneumococcal pneumonia 8.3 Staphylococcal pneumonia 8.4 Klebsiella pneumonia 8.5 Eosinophilic pneumonia 8.6 Opportunistic infections 9. Chronic airways disease 9.1 Asthma 9.2 Chronic bronchitis 9.3 Emphysema 9.4 Bronchiectasis 10. Diffuse lung disease 10.1 Interstitial disease - the reticular pattern 10.2 LAM 10.3 Langerhan's cell histiocytosis 10.4 Pulmonary sarcoid 10.5 Hypersensitivity pneumonitis 11. Pleural disease 11.1 Effusion 11.2 Pneumothorax 11.3 Pleural thickening 11.4 Pleural malignancy 11.5 Benign pleural tumours 12. Left heart failure 13. The heart and great vessels 13.1 Valve replacements 13.2 Cardiac enlargement 13.3 Ventricular aneurysm 13.4 Pericardial disease 13.5 Coarctation of the aorta 13.6 Aortic aneurysm 13.7 Atrial septal defect 13.8 Pacemakers 14. Pulmonary embolic disease 15. The mediastinum 15.1 The `hidden' areas of the mediastinum 15.2 The hila 15.3 Stents 16. The ITU chest X-ray 16.1 Adult respiratory distress syndrome 16.2 The CXR following thoracic surgery 17. The story films Further reading Index


Interpreting Chest X-rays is an excellent, simple book which will be available to medical students, radiographers and medical staff, including chest physicians and radiologists, providing an understanding of techniques and basic knowledge required to interpret plain chest radiographs. The book includes over 300 high quality images and is laid out in 17 chapters covering technique, anatomy, in-built errors of interpretation, fundamentals of chest x-ray interpretation and pattern recognition with subsequent chapters of pulmonary, pleural, cardiac, mediastinal disease and ITU chest x-ray abnormalities. The author states that the book is concentrated on interpretive skills and pattern recognition which will enable readers to interpret chest radiographs in their clinical practice. The book is reasonably priced and would be recommended to all healthcare professionals who are involved with the interpretation of plan chest radiographs. -- Dr David Foster * RAD Magazine * Interpreting chest radiographs is one of the most - if not the most - difficult yet routine radiologic activity. In some respects, thoracic computed tomographic (CT) examinations are easier to correctly analyze, because among other reasons, the 3-dimensional anatomy is laid out much more clearly, and the density of structures is more readily discerned. Similarly, teaching the basics of chest radiographic (CXR) analysis can be surprisingly difficult, especially to the beginner. In Interpreting Chest X-Rays, a profusely- illustrated paperback book by the thoracic radiologist Dr. Stephen Ellis, a substantial amount of ground is covered on this difficult topic in 240 pages. Dr. Ellis is an outstanding teacher, with an appealing approach and writing style. I imagine, after reading this new introductory book, that anyone at any level, after spending a few weeks with Dr. Ellis on a chest imaging rotation, would learn an enormous amount of practical and valuable information. The book is very well written and organized. There are excellent, very instructive figure legends. Some points and a few images are repeated within the book, but this serves to reinforce important concepts. Helpful analogies are provided, as are useful and clear drawings (particularly the diagrams of lobar atelectasis). Some areas get minimal coverage (eg, CXR findings in aortic dissection, although a single case is shown), whereas a few unusual or rare disorders, which a beginning interpreter is highly unlikely to ever encounter, are covered in some detail or briefly mentioned (eg, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, and pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis). Overall, the cases shown are excellent, they cover substantial ground, and demonstrate numerous valuable teaching points, particularly for an introductory text. Putting together such a collection of images is not easy. I very much like the CXR-CT correlation, with universal superb reproduction of the CT images, although most of the CT images are quite small, and the novice interpreter may not be able to appreciate some of the findings on a minority of these images. I also very much like the magnification of areas of interest, which is provided for many of the chest radiographs. The emphasis on "review areas," and the potential pitfalls of CXR interpretation, is outstanding and relatively comprehensive, and important material is provided and reviewed for both the neophyte and the experienced health care practitioner. Thoracic anatomy (with CT correlation) and pathology is appropriately stressed throughout the text, as is the importance of a systematic search pattern. The chapter on atelectasis is extremely well done, and even seasoned CXR interpreters will benefit from this section. There is a concise but good discussion of pulmonary infection. The limitations of chest radiography for interstitial lung disease are accurately explained and demonstrated. Numerous pearls are included throughout the book (eg, that patients with sarcoid appear better clinically than radiographically), as are concise and relevant differential diagnoses (eg, for hilar lymphadenopathy). A substantial percentage of the CXRs illustrated are dark, with suboptimal contrast. This is due to the reproduction of the images, rather than the original images, and is my only major criticism of the book. Some of these are worse than others, although for the most part, the findings can be identified, particularly if attention is paid by the reader as to how the images are examined relative to the incident light falling on the book (however, this reviewer has not been exempt from this problem in his own publication efforts, and Dr. Ellis is likely as similarly frustrated by this as I have been). Hopefully, this problem can be corrected in future printings/ future editions. There are some charming "Britishisms", for example, "in theater" and "patients are invariably nursed supine," as well as the use of a few terms which will be foreign to American-based medical readers (eg, "hilar point" and "surgical emphysema"). Neither these nor the British spellings preclude the use of this book by Americans or others not familiar with the United Kingdom form of English. There are a few minor typographic errors (eg, Swan-Ganz, as in the physicians for whom the vascular catheter is named, is misspelled), one of which is rather amusing ("ecstatic" is used for a figure caption, rather than "ectatic," when referring to a tortuous aorta), and an atrial septal defect is referred to as a "right-to- left shunt" (which is true only when Eisenmenger's syndrome supervenes). A few captions incorrectly state the color or plurality/singularity of arrows, although this is a minor point. I could find essentially no substantial content errors, although one could argue with the issue that the lateral CXR is no longer used/should no longer be performed, or that a "limited volume CT" is actually done in practice for problem solving. Interpreting Chest X-Rays is highly recommended for anyone wishing to acquire a basic yet relatively comprehensive approach to the chest radiograph. The book is affordable, and is particularly suited for trainees, including pulmonary medicine fellows, medical students on a radiology rotation, physicians' assistant students or nursing students on a critical care or pulmonary rotation, and first-year radiology residents on a thoracic radiology rotation. Dr. Stephen Ellis makes the difficult seem easy, with his instructive teaching style and helpful approach to the surprisingly difficult topic of chest radiography interpretation. -- Douglas S. Katz, MD, FACR * Clinical Pulmonary Medicine *

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