Chest Roentgenography

Chest radiography was an essential part of cardiac evaluation before the echocardiographic (echo) studies became widely available to cardiologists. This simple test remains very useful to physicians who do not have access to the echocardiograph. In addition, cardiovascular abnormalities may be incidentally suspected by chest radiographic films.

Information to be gained from chest radiographs includes (1) heart size and silhouette, (2) enlargement of specific cardiac chambers, (3) pulmonary blood flow (PBF) or pulmonary vascular markings (PVM), and (4) other information regarding lung parenchyma, spine, bony thorax, abdominal situs, and so on.

I. Heart Size and Silhouette

  • 1.

    Heart size: The cardiothoracic (CT) ratio is obtained by dividing the largest transverse diameter of the heart by the widest internal diameter of the chest ( Fig. 3.1 ). The CT ratio is calculated by the following formula.

    Fig. 3.1

    Measurement of the cardiothoracic ratio from the posteroanterior view of a chest radiograph.

    CT ratio = (A + B)/C

    A CT ratio of more than 0.5 beyond infancy is considered to indicate cardiomegaly. However, the CT ratio cannot be used with any accuracy in neonates and small infants, in whom a good inspiratory chest film is rarely obtained.

  • 2.

    Normal cardiac silhouette: The structures that form the cardiac borders in the posteroanterior and lateral projections of a chest radiograph are shown in Fig. 3.2 . In the neonate, however, a typical normal cardiac silhouette as shown in Fig. 3.2 is rarely seen because of the presence of a large thymus.

    Fig. 3.2

    Posteroanterior and lateral projections of normal cardiac silhouette.

    From Park, M. K., & Salamat, M. (2020). Park’s pediatric cardiology for practitioners (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Mosby.

  • 3.

    Abnormal cardiac silhouette: The overall shape of the heart sometimes provides important clues to the type of cardiac defect ( Fig. 3.3 ).

    • a.

      Boot-shaped heart with decreased PVM is seen in infants with cyanotic TOF and in some infants with tricuspid atresia ( Fig. 3.3A ).

    • b.

      Narrow waist and egg-shaped heart with increased PVM in a cyanotic infant strongly suggest TGA ( Fig. 3.3B ).

    • c.

      Snowman sign with increased PVM is seen in infants with the supracardiac type of TAPVR ( Fig. 3.3C ).

    Fig. 3.3

    Abnormal cardiac silhouette. (A) Boot-shaped heart. (B) Egg-shaped heart. (C) Snowman sign.

    From Park, M. K., & Salamat, M. (2020). Park’s pediatric cardiology for practitioners (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Mosby.

II. Cardiac Chambers and Great Arteries

Apr 11, 2021 | Posted by in CARDIOLOGY | Comments Off on Chest Roentgenography
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