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Br J Radiol. 2005 May;78(929):398-404.

Normal radiographic anatomy of thoracic structures: analysis of 1000 chest radiographs in Japanese population.

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  • 1Division of Radiological Science, Department of Radiology and Radiation Biology, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8501, Japan.


The purpose of this paper was to study the frequency of visualization and characteristics of normal thoracic structures on posteroanterior (PA) chest radiographs in Japanese population. 1000 consecutive normal PA chest radiographs of men and women ranging in age from 20 years to 90 years were reviewed. Frequency of visualization and configuration of structures including (1) fissure lines such as major, minor, vertical fissure line, and accessory fissures, (2) vascular structures including normal apical opacity, aortic nipple, and descending aortic interface, and (3) other structures including air in the oesophagus, aortic pulmonary stripe, and diaphragm were studied. On PA chest radiographs: (1) minor fissure, superolateral major fissure, superomedial major fissure, vertical fissure line, superior accessory fissure, and inferior accessory fissure were visualized in 74.7%, 19.7%, 15.4%, 1.6%, 2.9% and 13.1%, respectively. (2) Normal apical opacity was seen in 3.7%, while aortic nipple was seen in 0.9%. Descending aortic interface was obliterated in 13.7%. (3) Air in the oesophagus and aortic pulmonary stripe were seen in 8.9% and 17.7%, respectively. Hemidiaphragm was obliterated in 10.3% on the right, and in 32.4% on the left. Scalloping of the diaphragm was seen in 10.6% on the right, 6.5% on the left, and 4.3% bilaterally. Frequency of visualization and characteristics of various normal anatomical structures on chest radiographs in Japanese population differ from those reported previously from the West. Familiarity with these normal thoracic structures and variations is important for our daily image interpretation.

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