On a chest film only the outer contours of the heart are seen.
In many cases we can only tell whether the heart figure is normal or enlarged and it will be difficult to say anything about the different heart compartments.
However it can be helpful to know where the different compartments are situated.
- Most posterior structure.
- Receives blood from the pulmonary veins that run almost horizontally towards the left atrium.
- Left atrial appendage (in purple) can sometimes be seen as a small outpouching just below the pulmonary trunk.
- Enlargement of the left atrium results on the PA-view in outpouching of the upper heart contour on the right and an obtuse angle between the right and left main bronchus. On the lateral view bulging of the upper posterior contour will be seen.
- Receives blood from the inferior and superior vena cava.
- Enlargement will cause an outpouching of the right heart contour.
- Situated to the left and posteriorly to the right ventricle.
- Enlargement will result on the PA-view in an increase of the heart size to the left and on the lateral view in bulging of the lower posterior contour.
- Most anterior structure and is situated behind the sternum.
- Enlargement will result on the PA-view in an increase of the heart size to the left and can finally result in the left heart border being formed by the right ventricle.
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