Left paraspinal line

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 18 Mar 2020

The left paraspinal (also known as the paraspinous or paravertebral) line (or stripe) is a feature of frontal chest x-rays. It is formed by the interface between the left lung and the left posterior mediastinal soft tissues 1. It is more commonly seen than the right paraspinal line.

Lateral displacement of the left paraspinal line can be due to 1-3:

Radiographic features

Plain radiograph
  • seen on ~35% (range 31-41%) of frontal chest x-rays 1,2
  • appears as a vertical line extending from the aortic arch to (or below) the diaphragm, typically lying medial to the lateral wall of the descending thoracic aorta but occasionally will lie lateral to the aorta 1,3

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