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Heart & great vessels

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The right cardiac border is formed by the right atrium and the left cardiac border by the left ventricle. The right ventricle and left atrium are not border-forming. The superior vena cava forms the right paramedian border.

The hilum is a composite structure made up of the pulmonary artery, it’s branches, adjacent pulmonary veins and the airways. The left pulmonary artery is travels backwards and laterally over the left main stem bronchus. but the right pulmonary artery travels underneath the aortic arch and anterior-inferiorly to the right main bronchus. The right hilar shadow is therefore inferior to the left in 70% of patients, and never superior to the left hilar shadow.

Pulmonary veins course more horizontally than pulmonary arteries and should not to be confused with a retrocardiac infiltrate.

Pericardial effusion

  • changes in the size and shape of the cardiac silhouette Ž featureless, globular or “water bottle” shape
  • on supine film apparent cardiomegaly may be the only feature
  • click here to see an example

Text © Gavin Joynt, June 2005


©Charles Gomersall, February, 2015 unless otherwise stated. The author, editor and The Chinese University of Hong Kong take no responsibility for any adverse event resulting from the use of this webpage.
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