In this Chest X-Ray we can identify a left sided pneumothorax - there is absence of lung markings in the periphery and we can also see a shadow which outlines the edge of the lung. A pneumothorax is caused when air enters the potential space between the viceral and parietal pleura and causes the lung to collapse down under the pressure of it's elsatic recoil. In this case it is likely that the pneumothorax has been caused by trauma as we can see air in the soft tissues on the left side (surgical emphysema - clinically feels like bubble wrap). A pneumothorax can be a life threatening condition. The patient presents in respiratory distress with decreased expansion on the affected side. There will be hyperresonance to percussion on that side but absent breath sounds. The emergency treatment is decompression with a large bore cannula in the 2nd intercostal space mid-clavicular line followed by insertion a chest drain in the 5th intercostal space mid-axilllary line
almost 10 years ago
This PA Chest X-Ray demonstrates a left sided pleural effusion. In this condition fluid collects between the parietal and visceral pleura and appears as a shadowy fluid level on the X-Ray with obliteration of the costophrenic angles. If you were to examine this patient they might be in respiratory distress from reduced oxygen uptake (so have low sats, high resp rate, possible cyanosis and accessory muscle useage) - they may have reduced chest expansion on the affected side and it would be stony dull to percussion. Fluid transmits sound poorly so breath sounds would be decreased as would vocal resonance/fremitus. Someone with consolidation may have very similar clinical findings but the underlying area of lung is almost solid due to pus from the infective process - as sounds travel well through solids they would have increased vocal fremitus which is how you can clinically differentiate between the two conditions. Clinical examination and understanding of conditions is paramount to practice effective medicine. Before you recieved this X-Ray you should be able to diagnose the condition and use the X-Ray to confirm your suspicions.
almost 10 years ago
This image displays a large left sided haemothorax with mediastinal displacement to the opposite side. Clinically the patient would be in respiratory distress - percussion of the left side of the chest would be dull and breath sounds and vocal resonance would be reduced. A Haemothorax such as this falls into the category of life threatening chest injuries (ATOMFC) and requires emergent treatment using a chest drain in the 5th intercostal space, mid-axillary line and treatment according to ALS or ATLS protocols. ATOMFC = A = airway obstruction, T = tension pneumothorax, O = open pneumothorax, M = massive haemothorax, F = flail chest, C = cardiac tamponade.
almost 10 years ago
An edited version of my Friday Evening Discouse given to the Royal Institution on 11 April 2008. Abstract: The vagus nerves (cranial nerve X) connects our brainstem to the body, facilitating monitoring and control of many automatic functions; the vagus electrically links our gut, lungs and heart to the base of the brain in an evolutionarily-ancient circuit, similar between mammals and also seen in birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The vagus comprises a major part of the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system, contributing to the motor control of important physiological functions such as heart rate and gut motility. The vagus is also sensory, relaying protective visceral information leading to reflexes like cough and indication of lung volume. The vagus has been described as a neural component of the immune reflex. By monitoring changes in the level of control exerted by the vagus, apparent as beat by beat changes of heart rate, it is possible to indirectly view the effect of pharmaceuticals and disease on brainstem function and neural processes underlying consciousness. The paired vagus nerves of humans have different functions, and stimulation of the left vagus has been shown to be a therapeutic treatment for epilepsy, and may modulate the perception of pain.
almost 11 years ago