Posterior tracheal stripe
Citation, DOI & article data
The posterior tracheal stripe (or line) is formed by air in the trachea and air in the right lung outlining the intervening posterior wall of the trachea and soft tissue. It is seen on lateral chest x-rays and normally measures less than 2.5 mm in width 1,2. Abnormal thickening has a variety of causes 1,2:
- congenital or acquired aortic arch abnormalities (most common)
- esophageal pathology: e.g. malignancy, dilatation, diverticula, duplication cysts, etc.
- mediastinal hematomas
The posterior tracheal stripe can also normally appear thickened, measuring up to 5.5 mm, and is then called the tracheo-oesophgeal stripe and is formed by the interface of the posterior wall of the trachea with the anterior wall of the esophagus (instead of the right lung) 2.
The posterior tracheal stripe/tracheo-esophageal stripe forms the anterior border of the retrotracheal space.
- appears as a vertical stripe posterior to the tracheal air column extending from the thoracic inlet to the tracheal bifurcation on lateral chest x-rays 1-3
- 1- Gibbs JM, Chandrasekhar CA, Ferguson EC et-al. Lines and stripes: where did they go?-From conventional radiography to CT. Radiographics. 2007;27 (1): 33-48. Radiographics (full text) - doi:10.1148/rg.271065073 - Pubmed citation
- 2- Franquet T, Erasmus JJ, GiméNez A et-al. The retrotracheal space: normal anatomic and pathologic appearances. Radiographics. 2003;22 Spec No: S231-46. Pubmed citation
- 3- Wright FW. Radiology of the Chest and Related Conditions. Available from: http://radiographia.ru/sites/default/adminfiles/RadiologyoftheChest.pdf