Chest x-ray lines and stripes

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 11 Aug 2018

Chest x-ray lines and stripes are important to recognize on chest radiographs

Lines are usually less than 1 mm in width and are comprised of tissue outlined on either side by air and typically represent pleural-covered structures within the middle and superior mediastinum 1,2:

Stripes, on the other hand, are thicker than lines, and are seen when these thicker anatomical structures are outlined by air 1,2:

A third important part of chest x-ray lines and stripes are the interfaces, although confusingly some are known as 'lines/stripes', which are the borders of solid structures with air 2:

Recognition of any abnormality in the various lines and stripes on chest x-ray is invaluable in ensuring the appropriateness in further investigation with CT 1.

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Cases and figures

  • Junctional lines
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  • Azygo-esophageal recess
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