Deep sulcus sign - pneumothorax

Case contributed by Dr Charlie Chia-Tsong Hsu


50 years old male involved in motor vehicle accident.

Patient Data

Age: 50
Gender: Male

Deep sulcus sign demonstrated on the initial supine chest radiograph which is highly suggestive of a right sided pneumothorax. This was confirmed on an erect chest radiograph a day later.

Case Discussion

Deep sulcus sign depicts pneumothorax in the supine position as air ascends to the non-dependent pleural space outlining the anterior costophrenic recess/sulcus. If the volume of pneumothorax is sufficient large it can also outline the the costocardic angle and the pericardial fat and additional "pericardial fat pad sign" may also be observed.

A prudent radiologist will need to asses the costophrenic and pericardial region closely when inspecting supine trauma and ICU radiographs as small pneumothorax can be a subtle finding.

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Case information

rID: 35262
Published: 30th Mar 2015
Last edited: 16th Jul 2018
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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