Update: We are now collecting Disclosures from all users who edit content. You will be prompted to update these when you next edit content or you can complete your disclosures at any time in your user profile. This has been reflected in an updated terms-of-use.

Earth-heart sign

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 10 Dec 2021

The earth-heart sign is a sign of cardiac compromise that may be seen on chest radiographs of patients with tension pneumomediastinum.

The substantial pressure exerted on the heart by the gas trapped in the mediastinum with subsequent impairment of central venous return and obstruction of diastolic filling may lead to a flattening of the cardiac silhouette resembling the oblate-spheroid morphology of the earth itself (which like many planets assumes this shape due to a combination of rotational and gravitational forces), i.e. the earth-heart sign 1

The sign was first described in 2014 1.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

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

     Thank you for updating your details.