Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cardiovascular syphilis

NEJM: Historical Medical Image Challenge

This was one of the pictures from NEJM's Historical Image Challenge and demonstrates a large thoracic aortic aneurysm compressing the esophagus and causing difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Such aneurysms are due to cardiovascular syphilis, which is a complication of the STI that can occur 15-30 years after initial infection. At some point in the past syphilis was an incurable disease and could result in many wierd and (not so) wonderful complications such as the awful looking busk below.

Gummatous syphilis: a tertiary complication of syphilis infections, comprising soft balls of tumour-like inflammation.

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