Inhalation Anthrax Chest X-ray
The classic appearance of inhalation anthrax on a chest x-ray is mediastinal widening with clear lungs. However, some patients do present with the additional finding of (hemorrhagic) pleural effusion. The differential diagnosis of mediastinal widening includes normal variant (fat or tortuous vessel), aneurysm, or a soft tissue mass (primary neoplasm or enlarged lymph nodes). A CT scan with contrast is ideally situated for analysis of the widened mediastinum, having the ability to distinguish between nonvascular and vascular lesions and can often provide a specific diagnosis. The appearance of a widen mediastinum in a patient with fever, myalgias, or dyspnea should suggest the diagnosis of inhalation anthrax.
Search this point-of-care decision support tool today. A free benefit of ACP membership.
MKSAP 16 Holiday Special: Save 10%
Use MKSAP 16 to earn MOC points, prepare for ABIM exams and assess your clinical knowledge. For a limited time save 10% when you use priority code MK16TOP2!
Will You be Stumped? Try the Consult Guys and Earn Free CME
The Consult Guys have another stumper! How would you handle this case? Watch the video and take the CME quiz.