Subtle pneumothorax

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Subtle pneumothorax

  • Pneumothoraces are often difficult to see. The classic appearance is of a pencil-thin line, which represents the lung edge.
  • You should check every chest X-ray for a pneumothorax. Double checking for a pneumothorax forms part of the assessment of the review areas
  • This X-ray shows a small pneumothorax (<2 cm depth at the level of the hilum).
  • Note: Expiratory chest X-rays are not considered to be of additional benefit in the routine assessment of pneumothorax (see British Thoracic Society for up to date guidelines) - occasionally CT may be required if there is diagnostic uncertainty

Page author: Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust UK (Read bio)

Last reviewed: October 2019