Hampton hump refers to a dome-shaped, pleural-based opacification in the lung most commonly due to pulmonary embolism and lung infarction (it can also result from other causes of pulmonary infarction (e.g. vascular occlusion due to angioinvasive aspergillosis). While a pulmonary embolism is expected to result in a wedge-shaped infarction, the expected apex of this infarction may be spared because of collateral supply from the bronchial arterial circulation, leading to the characteristic rounded appearance of a Hampton hump.
Opacification occurs secondary to haemorrhage due to the dual blood supply from the bronchial arteries 1 (see lung infarction). In the case of infarction, it takes months to resolve, and it often leaves a linear scar.
If the underlying parenchyma does not undergo infarction, the Hampton hump will resolve within a week by keeping its typical configuration. This is referred to as the melting sign because its resolution resembles a melting ice cube 2.
History and etymology
It was originally described in 1940 by Aubrey Otis Hampton (1900-1955) 3, an American radiologist.
- 1. Frazier AA, Galvin JR, Franks TJ et-al. From the archives of the AFIP: pulmonary vasculature: hypertension and infarction. Radiographics. 20 (2): 491-524. Radiographics (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 2. Webb WR, Higgins CB. Thoracic Imaging: Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Radiology, North American Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2010) ISBN:1605479764. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 3. Schatzki R, Lingley JR. Aubrey O. Hampton, 1900-1955. The American journal of roentgenology, radium therapy, and nuclear medicine. 75 (2): 396-7. Pubmed