Detection of incidental cardiac findings in noncardiac chest computed tomography

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The aim of the study was to estimate the rate of incidental cardiac findings (ICF) in patients undergoing noncardiac chest CT.

An experienced radiologist retrospectively reviewed 237 consecutive patients (147 males and 90 females with median age of 69 years) undergoing a noncardiac chest CT. ICF at targeted review were compared to those mentioned in original reports (χ2 test).

At review, ≥1 ICF was detected in 124/237 patients (52%), for a total of 229 ICF, 158 of them (69%) not originally mentioned. Valvular calcifications were unmentioned in 23/23 (100%) patients, main pulmonary artery dilation in 21/22 (96%), coronary calcifications in 69/86 (80%), right or left atrial dilation in 7/11 (64%), aortic atherosclerosis in 29/62 (47%), and ascending aorta dilatation in 8/18 (44%). All 6 pericardial effusions were originally mentioned. No association with sex (P ≥ .189); positive correlation with age (P < .001).

Half of patients undergoing noncardiac chest CT presented ≥1 ICF, independently from sex but increasing with age. Moreover, 69% of detectable ICFs were not originally mentioned.

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