Aortic nipple

An aortic nipple is seen in about 10% of PA chest x-rays on the lateral surface of the aortic arch/aortic knob. It represents the left superior intercostal vein.

When prominent, superior vena cava obstruction should be considered as the left superior intercostal vein serves as a collateral pathway.

Very rarely, an absent azygos vein will be the cause of an aortic nipple 3.


Article information

rID: 27134
System: Chest
Section: Approach
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Aortic nipples

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: annotated chest radiograph
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: 3D CT reconstruction
    Drag here to reorder.