Normal position of hemidiaphragms on chest radiography

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 2 Feb 2021

The normal position of hemidiaphragms on chest radiography reflects the presence of the heart and subdiaphragmatic organs. Therefore, the hemidiaphragms are not at the same level on frontal erect inspiratory chest radiographs, but are usually within one rib intercostal space height (~2 cm) of each other. The left hemidiaphragm is usually lower than the right.

If the left hemidiaphragm is higher than the right or the right is higher than the left by more than 3 cm, one of the many causes of diaphragmatic elevation should be considered.

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Cases and figures

  • Normal diaphragm height
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  • Normal diaphragm height on an adult female
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