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Chest Imaging

E2241. The Lateral Chest Radiograph: A Guide for Residents

Prosper A1,  Hassani C1,  Gutierrez A2,  Suh R2,  Lee C.1 1. Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; 2. University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Address correspondence to A. Prosper (

Background Information: The education and clinical importance of the lateral chest radiograph have diminished in recent years. Radiology residents and recent graduates in particular lack the knowledge, experience, and interest to properly interpret the lateral radiograph. The value of the lateral view is underappreciated, as this perspective significantly enhances the evaluation for thoracic disease.

Educational Goals/Teaching Points: The goals of this exhibit are to describe the fundamental anatomy, variations, and spaces routinely revealed on the lateral chest radiograph, correlate the perspective the lateral view provides with that provided by MDCT, and uphold the importance of learning how to properly interpret the lateral radiograph.

Key Anatomic/Physiologic Issues and Imaging Findings/Techniques: The content of this exhibit will be organized by anatomic structures and spaces. We will discuss the trachea (anterior and posterior tracheal stripe) and large airways (right upper lobe bronchus, left main upper lobe continuum, carina, and posterior wall of bronchus intermedius) followed by the arteries and veins (left and right pulmonary arteries, right ventricular outflow tract, ascending aorta, and inferior vena cava). We will also cover clear spaces (retrotracheal, anterior, and retrocardiac) and windows (aortopulmonary and inferior hilar). We will present quiz cases to review the content.

Conclusion: This exhibit will educate radiology trainees, as well as practicing radiologists, on the proper approach to interpreting the lateral radiograph. The cases shown throughout the presentation will underscore the utility of the lateral view. Awareness of routinely visualized anatomic structures and spaces, aided by correlation with multidetector CT, should facilitate improved interpretation of two-view chest radiographs.