Left paratracheal stripe

Dr Ian Bickle and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The left paratracheal stripe is formed by the interface of the medial pleural surface of the left upper lobe and left lateral border of the trachea and/or or the fat adjacent 1 with air within each structure forming the outline. It may not be visible if the left upper lobe contacts the left subclavian artery or left common carotid artery 2

Abnormal widening or contour may be due to 1, 2:

  • pleural effusion
  • mediastinal lymphadenopathy or malignancy
  • mediastinal haematoma

Recognition of any abnormality in the left paratracheal stripe is invaluable in ensuring the appropriateness in further investigation with CT.

Radiological appearance

Plain film
  • seen on ~25% (range 21-31%) of PA chest x-rays 1, 2
  • appears as a vertical stripe of variable thickness, that extends from the aortic arch to the left subclavian artery 1, 2
Chest x-ray
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Article information

rID: 23506
System: Chest
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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