Retrosternal airspace

Dr Andrew Dixon et al.

The retrosternal airspace is seen as a normal lucency between the posterior aspect of the sternum and anterior aspect of the ascending aorta on lateral chest radiographs. This space normally measures less than 2.5 cm in width. Increased retrosternal airspace is a sign of pulmonary emphysema, while obliteration of the retrosternal airspace is an indication of an anterior mediastinal mass.  


Chest x-ray
Share article

Article Information

rID: 18963
System: Chest
Section: Approach
Tags: chest, cxr, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and Figures

  • Drag
    Retrostenal airsp...
    Case 1: normal
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Marked hyperinfla...
    Case 2: increased in emphysema
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    T Cell Lymphoma C...
    Case 3: obliterated in lymphoma
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.
    Loadinganimation

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.