Left lung lower lobe collapse in trauma patient

Case contributed by Dr Dayu Gai


This 55 year old male was involved in a motor vehicle accident. An X-ray was performed on day 2 of admission.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Male

Case Discussion

This X-ray shows an obvious left lung collapse. Notice the patchy opacity adjacent to the left heart border, inferior to the pulmonary hilar vessels. This opacity represents collapsed lung parenchyma hyperdense relative to the surrounding inflated parenchyma. Also, note the loss of the left heart border. This is a classic sign of left lower lobe collapse 2.

Notice the widened mediastinum which is a non-specific sign of aortic injury. Posterior-anterior (PA) chest radiographs are more sensitive than anterior-posterior (AP) chest radiographs, in respect to detection of aortic dissection 1. In this case, the chest radiograph was an AP projection, and the mediastinal widening was insignificant.

Case contributed by A/Prof. Pramit Phal.

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