Mammographic parasitic calcifications in South West Nigeria: prospective and descriptive study
Introduction: Lymphatic filariasis caused by nematode parasite Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia Malayi is endemic in the tropics. In Nigeria, 25% of the population is infected. Lymph edema and elephantiasis are the predominant manifestations. Its infrequent manifestation is in the breast. This paper discusses the epidemiology, reviews literature, imaging options and mammographic appearances of these parasitic nematodes.
Methods: This prospective descriptive study reports on 39 cases of parasitic calcifications seen during mammography in the Radiology Department, University College Hospital between 2006 and 2012 in Ibadan, South West Nigeria. Each mammogram was reported by MO and ATS: assigned a final Bi-RADs category. Parasitic calcifications were further evaluated for distribution, and types of calcification.
Results: A total of 527 women had mammography done between 2006 and 2012. Thirty-nine women (7.4%) had parasitic breast calcifications. The ages of the women ranged between 38-71 years - mean of 52.36±8.72 SD. Twenty-three (59%) were post-menopausal, 16(41%) were pre-menopausal. The majority (31; 79.5%) were screeners while 8(20.5%) were follow up cases. Approximately half (51.3%) of the women had no complaints. Pain (23.1%) was the commonest presentation in the remaining half. Solitary calcifications were predominant (20) while only 3 cases had 10 calcifications. Left sided calcifications (53.8%) were the majority. Calcifications were subcutaneous in 2/3rds of the women (66.7%) while the Yoruba tribe (84.6%) was principal.
Conclusion: Parasitic breast calcifications can be misdiagnosed on mammography for suspicious micro-calcification. This publication should alert radiologists in a tropical country like Nigeria to increase diagnostic vigilance thereby preventing unnecessary anxiety and invasive work-up procedures.
Key words: Parasite, mammography, calcification