Fleischner sign (enlarged pulmonary artery)

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Ian Bickle et al.

The Fleischner sign refers to a prominent central pulmonary artery that can be commonly caused either by pulmonary hypertension or by distension of the vessel by a large pulmonary embolus. It can be seen on chest radiographs, CT pulmonary angiography, and MR pulmonary angiography.

It is seen most commonly in the setting of massive pulmonary embolism (defined angiographically as involving 50% or more of the major pulmonary artery branches). It has a low sensitivity but high specificity. 

It is one of several described signs of pulmonary embolus on chest radiographs.

History and etymology

It is named after Felix Georg Fleischner (1893-1969), an Austrian-American radiologist, who first described it in 1961 7. Fleischner started off as a Professor of Radiology in Vienna before moving to Boston where he became a Radiology Professor at Harvard.

See also

Chest x-ray
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Article information

rID: 21817
System: Chest
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Fleischner sign: chest x ray
  • Fleischner's sign: chest x ray

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