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Steeple sign (trachea)

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 13 Mar 2019

The steeple sign, also called the wine bottle sign, refers to the tapering of the upper trachea on a frontal chest radiograph reminiscent of a church steeple. The appearance is suggestive of croup, which should be obvious clinically. A corresponding lateral x-ray would show narrowing of the subglottic trachea and ballooning of the hypopharynx.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: steeple of Salisbury cathedral
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  • Case 1: croup with steeple sign
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5
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