Deep sulcus sign - supine pneumothorax

Discussion:

Pneumothorax on an erect chest radiograph is easy to diagnose, but on supine films it is difficult because air in the pleural cavity takes a non dependent position.

Signs of pneumothorax on supine radiographs are:

  • deep sulcus sign: air in the pleural cavity collects in the anterolateral pleural space outlining the deep costophrenic angle
  • increased clarity or sharpness of the ipsilateral hemidiaphragm
  • double diaphragm sign
  • increased sharpness of the mediastinal or cardiac outline
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