Missed our latest free live-stream? Catch up now on our Procedure Tips (Chris Nicholas) and Right Lower Quadrant Pain (Matt Morgan)

Apical zone

The apical zone (a.k.a. lung apex) is one of the four chest radiograph zones and an important location for missed diagnoses when reporting a frontal chest radiograph and makes up one of the "check areas". It is sometimes thought of as a subdivision of the upper zone

Radiographic features

Plain radiograph
  • portion of the lungs that lie above the inferior margin of the clavicles on a frontal chest radiograph (see Figure 1) 2

Related pathology

The apices and upper zones are preferentially affected by pathology that is related to inhalation. The upper portion of the lungs have a positive ventilation mismatch when compared to the bases, where there is preferential perfusion. Common conditions involving the apical zone include:


Article information

rID: 13649
System: Chest
Section: Approach
Tag: cases, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Apices of lungs
  • Apex of lung
  • Apex of the lung
  • Lung apex
  • Lung apices
  • Apices
  • Apical zones
  • Apical region
  • Apical regions

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: apical zone highlighted
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 1: normal chest x-ray
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

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

     Thank you for updating your details.