Imaging of the Heart and Great Vessels
The heart is often the “forgotten” structure in thoracic imag-ing studies. Yet a tremendous amount of information regard-ing cardiac structure and function can be gleaned from careful analysis of studies, regardless of whether they are ded-icated to cardiac imaging. Critical evaluation of the findings on the imaging ex-aminations of this region is not possible without paying at-tention to the lungs, as these two organ systems mirror changes in each other. The most common abnormalities en-countered in the cardiovascular system are hypertension, pulmonary arterial hypertension (usually secondary to chronic pulmonary disease), congestive heart failure, athero-sclerotic disease, and valvular disease. Less common cardiac and great vessel diseases such as congenital heart disease, neoplasms, and diseases of the pericardium are described in less detail. The last topic, monitoring devices and postopera-tive changes, is one with which students should be familiar.