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The retrotracheal space (or Raider triangle) is a radiolucent mediastinal space best seen on lateral chest x-rays. It is normally triangular in shape but can vary greatly in size and shape depending on the patient's body habitus and lung volume 1.
posterior: thoracic vertebral bodies
inferior: aortic arch
superior: thoracic inlet
History and etymology
The retrotracheal space was first described by Louis Raider (1913-1999) 2 in 1973 4, although he had a hard time finding a journal willing to accept it, as both Radiology and AJR rejected the manuscript. Ben Felson called it Raider's triangle in his Caldwell Lecture in 1986 3.
- 1. 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
- 2. Louis Raider, 1913-1999. (2000) American Journal of Roentgenology. doi:10.2214/ajr.174.5.1741322
- 3. Felson B. Caldwell lecture. Armchair research and the practicing radiologist. (1986) AJR. American journal of roentgenology. 147 (5): 881-90. doi:10.2214/ajr.147.5.881 - Pubmed
- 4. Raider L. The retrotracheal triangle. (1973) Chest. 63 (5): 835-8. Pubmed