Cardiovascular findings on cross-sectional imaging: spectrum of incidental and critical findings and clinical relevance for the abdominal radiologist

  • Kevin KaliszEmail author
  • Michael Enzerra
  • Kianoush Ansari-Gilani


Although not the primary focus of the exams, cardiovascular structures are included to some extent on all abdominal or whole-body cross-sectional studies. Cardiovascular findings often present incidentally and may range from chronic to acute and emergent pathologies. Among the most common cardiovascular findings are the presence of cardiac calcifications, most commonly coronary, which correlate with the presence of coronary artery and valvular disease. Signs of myocardial ischemia, both acute and chronic, and its complications may also be visualized. Cardiac filling defects most commonly represent thrombus and are associated with systemic arterial embolic complications. Pericardial findings often manifest as effusion or thickening, which may lead to hemodynamic consequences visible at imaging. Incidental pulmonary emboli and systemic venous thrombi may be incidentally detected, particularly in hospitalized and oncologic patients, and warrant immediate attention. This review will highlight the appearance of common and important incidental cardiovascular findings and related pitfalls and discuss reporting and follow-up recommendations relevant to the abdominal radiologist.


Cardiac Incidental Cross-sectional 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospitals Cleveland Medical CenterClevelandUSA

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