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Incidental finding of large pneumothorax on Cardiac MR scan

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Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC medical imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2018


We believe this is the first case report of a pneumothorax being identified using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. This case also illustrates the haemodynamic effect a large pneumothorax can have on right ventricular filling in diastole.

Case presentation
A 26-year-old attended for an interval follow up Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) of his thoracic aorta after a thoracic co-arctation repair aged 3. He was found to have an incidental large pneumothorax by the reporting cardiology fellow which was confirmed by the on-call radiologist. The pneumothorax was most notable for its compression of the right ventricle in diastole. Although the patient had worrying features on CMR imaging, he remained clinically stable and a conservative approach to management saw the pneumothorax resolve after a 3 week period.

Pneumothoraces are important, potentially life threatening conditions. Although very rarely identified on MR imaging, radiographers and reporting doctors should be aware of their key features. This case serves to identify not only the abnormal lung parenchymal features but also the striking compressional effect of the pneumothorax on the right ventricle in diastole. Indeed we believe this is the first case report of a pneumothorax identified on CMR imaging.

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