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Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia

Print version ISSN 1806-3713On-line version ISSN 1806-3756


MANCANO, Alexandre Dias et al. Incidence and morphological characteristics of the reversed halo sign in patients with acute pulmonary embolism and pulmonary infarction undergoing computed tomography angiography of the pulmonary arteries. J. bras. pneumol. [online]. 2019, vol.45, n.1, e20170438.  Epub Feb 25, 2019. ISSN 1806-3713.


To determine the incidence of the reversed halo sign (RHS) in patients with pulmonary infarction (PI) due to acute pulmonary embolism (PE), detected by computed tomography angiography (CTA) of the pulmonary arteries, and to describe the main morphological features of the RHS.


We evaluated 993 CTA scans, stratified by the risk of PE, performed between January of 2010 and December of 2014. Although PE was detected in 164 scans (16.5%), three of those scans were excluded because of respiratory motion artifacts. Of the remaining 161 scans, 75 (46.6%) showed lesions consistent with PI, totaling 86 lesions. Among those lesions, the RHS was seen in 33 (38.4%, in 29 patients).


Among the 29 patients with scans showing lesions characteristic of PI with the RHS, 25 (86.2%) had a single lesion and 4 (13.8%) had two, totaling 33 lesions. In all cases, the RHS was in a subpleural location. To standardize the analysis, all images were interpreted in the axial plane. Among those 33 lesions, the RHS was in the right lower lobe in 17 (51.5%), in the left lower lobe in 10 (30.3%), in the lingula in 5 (15.2%), and in the right upper lobe in 1 (3.0%). Among those same 33 lesions, areas of low attenuation were seen in 29 (87.9%). The RHS was oval in 24 (72.7%) of the cases and round in 9 (27.3%). Pleural effusion was seen in 21 (72.4%) of the 29 patients with PI and the RHS.


A diagnosis of PE should be considered when there are findings such as those described here, even in patients with nonspecific clinical symptoms.

Keywords : Pulmonary embolism; Pulmonary infarction; Computed tomography angiography.

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