Aortic nipple

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 28 Jun 2021

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.

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.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.