Chest x-ray review: airway

Last revised by Jeremy Jones on 14 Aug 2021

Chest x-ray review is a key competency for medical students, junior doctors and other allied health professionals. Using A, B, C, D, E is a helpful and systematic method for chest x-ray review where A refers to the assessment of the airways.


  • introduction
    • airway assessment often overlooked
  • procedure
    • start at the top of the film
    • find the trachea in the midline
    • trace it down to the carina
    • trace the right main bronchus
    • return to the carina and trace the left main bronchus
    • the angle between the two should be between 50° and 100°
  • checklist
    • is the trachea straight and midline?
    • is there any evidence of narrowing?
    • is the carina wide (more than 100°)?

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