CIP Case of the Month

Hypothalamic Hamartoma. Submitted by Scott E. Forseen, MD, and Kevin F. Johnson, MDcase in point

Case in Point (CIP) is an online learning activity that offers free CME credit for all ACR members. A new case is published each day, and topics cover a variety of subspecialty areas and include uncommon conditions as well as more familiar presentations.

Each weekday, users earn a 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Creditâ„¢ as they review the images and complete the daily case.

The ACR analyzes user feedback to determine CIP's most popular cases. "Hypothalamic Hamartoma," published July 9, 2012, received top marks from users and was deemed an exemplary submission. Co-author Scott E. Forseen, MD, of Georgia Health Sciences University spoke with the ACR Bulletin about the case.

Q: Why did you select "Hypothalamus Hamartoma" for submission to CIP?

A: "Hypothalamus Hamartoma" is a nice case for CIP in that there is a classic imaging appearance, interesting clinical presentation, and a relatively limited differential diagnosis. I am very familiar with this entry, having completed my neuroradiology fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute.

Q: Describe your thought process as you were preparing your case for submission.

A: A nice think about the CIP cases is that they are bite-size. They are nearly always presented concisely, with a preference for high-yield information. They typically don't include a great deal of trivia. We tried to keep these things in mind as we constructed our submission.

Q: What do you want users to learn from your case?

A: From a diagnostic imaging standpoint, the most important point to take away is that of proper anatomic localization. With proper anatomic localization, hypothalamic hamartoma is a relatively straightforward diagnosis.

Q: Several users commented that this case was a "great review." What do you think is most valuable about presenting such a review?

A: We hoped to meet the needs of learners at different stages. For those who have never seen a hypothalamic hamartoma, the hope is to do justice to this very interesting disease entity. For those who learned about hypothalamic hamartoma as medical students or residents, we hoped to fill in the gaps in an effective manner. For neuroradiology trainees and attendings, we hoped to provide an opportunity to overlearn this topic.

Q: Are you a regular reader of CIP? What are your favorite types of cases?

A: I review the cases every Monday morning before work, when the ACR CIP e-mail arrives. I heavily favor the neurology and musculoskeletal cases, but I try to review every case as time permits.

Q: What makes CIP valuable as a teaching tool?

A: There are several reasons CIP is a valuable teaching tool. First, the brevity of the cases allows users to review many in a short period of time. Second, the CIP database contains a large number of cases, with both unique and repeat cases. The cases can be searched easily, which can benefit those who are studying for boards, seeking a certificate of added qualification or maintenance of certification, or just brushing up on a long-lost topic. Third, users can review the cases as unknowns or knowns. Finally, the cases are densely packed with information. I love trivia, but it has its proper place and time. With CIP, it is easy to pull up a case at a workstation and find high-yield points and images to share with students, who can then easily return to the case for later review.

Q: What benefits do you see offered in the online format of CIP over traditional print media?

A: In print format, this information would be cumbersome to search through. It would be difficult to consume large amounts of information in a short period of time. I can barely remember what it was like to pour through volumes of print media, but I do recall hours of wasted time.

Q: Why should radiologists take advantage of CIP?

A: CIP is a unique educational option for radiologists. For those of us who teach medical students, residents, and fellows, CIP provides a unique opportunity for learners at different levels to review a large number of high-yield cases that are relevant to daily clinical practice. For those of us who are rushing from place to place before and after work, CIP offers an opportunity to earn CME credit on the go.


By Anastasia Simkanin
Anastasia Simkanin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is the CIP manager for the ACR Education Department.

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