Left paratracheal stripe

Last revised by Patrick J Rock on 9 Oct 2020

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 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:

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

Radiological appearance

Plain radiograph
  • 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

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads