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


  • Left basal collapse
  • Moderate right sided pneumothorax


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 collapse2.

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 dissection1. 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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Case information

rID: 32052
Published: 11th Feb 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Excluded

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