Hilar enlargement on chest x-ray


Hilar enlargement reflects one of 4 types of processes:

  • Lymphadenopathy and tumors
  • Pulmonary venous hypertension
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Increased pulmonary blood flow


Lymphadenopathy and tumors

  • Rounded, non-branching structures in which the radiopacity abruptly diminishes at the margin of the tumor or lymph node

Pulmonary venous hypertension

  • Enlargement of the superior pulmonary veins causes increased vascular density in the upper half of the hilum
  • due to left ventricular failure, mitral stenosis or mitral regurgitation

Pulmonary arterial hypertension

  • Central pulmonary arteries are dilated and taper abruptly
  •  due to primary pulmonary hypertension and lung diseases such as COPD

Increased pulmonary blood flow

  • Increased central and peripheral pulmonary vascular markings (peripheral lung markings become visible in the peripheral 1–2 cm of the lung)
  • due to left-to-right intracardiac shunts and hyperdynamic circulation

CCC 700 6

Critical Care


Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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