Skin fold mimicking an apical pneumothorax

Case contributed by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking


Oncology patient. Confirm CVL placement.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Male

The CVL tip is projected in the lower SVC.

Thick band of atelectasis in the left lower zone. The pleural spaces are clear. A skin fold in the right apex is noted, no evidence of pneumothorax. The cardiothoracic ratio is normal allowing for supine projection. Cardiomediastinal contours are normal.

Mild scoliosis of the thoracic spine, and multilevel degenerative changes noted. Evidence of prior left shoulder surgery.

Case Discussion

In the right apex, a skin fold producing a line is mimicking a pneumothorax. This is a common mimic and the line can can be differentiated from a true pneumothorax by:

  1. the presence of lung markings beyond the line and
  2. the fact that the line is also projected over the ribs.
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Case information

rID: 64409
Published: 21st Nov 2018
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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