An unusual artifact observed on screening mammography in a patient with an LVAD

Audrey I. Nisbet, David Ahmadian, Srinivasan Vedantham, Jing Tzyh Alan Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Screening mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis consist of high-resolution x-ray images to identify findings that are potentially indicative of breast cancer, enabling early detection and reduction of breast cancer mortality. Imaging artifacts can occasionally occur, sometimes due to patient-related medical devices. Because of continuous evolution of new technologies, there is potential for novel artifacts to be encountered. In this technical note, we report an unusual artifact in the screening mammogram of a patient with an Abbott HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Methods: A 72-year-old patient with a HeartMate 3 LVAD presented to our breast imaging facility for a standard screening exam with digital breast tomosynthesis (Selenia Dimensions, Hologic Inc., Bedford, MA) and synthetic 2D images (C-view, Hologic Inc., Bedford, MA). Results: Linear artifacts oriented in the anteroposterior dimension demonstrating a spatial periodicity of ∼1.4 mm were seen on all left breast images, whereas concurrent right breast images did not demonstrate any artifacts. Repeat attempts using two identical digital breast tomosynthesis units demonstrated the same artifacts. No other exam at our imaging center that day demonstrated any such artifacts. Mammogram exams performed on this patient prior to her LVAD placement did not exhibit any similar artifacts. Conclusion: Findings support the patient's LVAD as the underlying source of linear artifacts observed on left breast images, particularly given the proximity of the LVAD to the left breast. With the number of patients receiving LVAD placement on the rise, as well as increasing median survival rates status post LVAD implantation, recognition of this LVAD related artifact on mammography may be important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14255
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • artifacts
  • breast imaging
  • electromagnetic interference
  • image quality
  • left ventricular assist device
  • mammography
  • tomosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'An unusual artifact observed on screening mammography in a patient with an LVAD'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this