Radiological sign of left ventricular enlargement based on the distance between the inferior vena cava (IVC) and left ventricle (LV).
Left ventricular enlargement is suggested on lateral chest radiograph if the distance (A) between the LV border border and the posterior border of IVC is more than 1.8 cm at a level 2 cm above the intersection of diaphragm and IVC.
History of the Hoffman-Rigler sign
1959 – Eyler et al made an original and ingenious suggestion for the determination of left ventricular enlargement in the lateral view. They described an abnormal change in the relationship of the left ventricle to the inferior vena cava and the left leaf of the diaphragm. They noted that if the left ventricle extended posteriorly beyond the upper end of the vena cava more than 1.5cm, it probably was a sign of left ventricular enlargement.
In patients with rheumatic lesions of the mitral valve, the detection of left ventricular enlargement in the lateral view has been the most reliable single roentgen indication of the presence of mitral insufficiency or of an aortic valve lesion. All four views as well as fluoroscopy should be used.
When the left ventricle was enlarged, it has in most cases projected behind the shadow of the inferior vena cava for a distance of 15 mm. or more.Eyler et al, Radiology 1959
1965 – Richard Bashefkin Hoffman (1937-2011) and Leo George Rigler (1896-1979) published their paper defining two measurements easily obtained from the lateral chest film and to determine their degree of efficacy in evaluating left ventricular size.
Measurement A is defined as the distance which the left ventricle extends posteriorly to the posterior border of the inferior vena cava at a point 2 em cephalad to the crossing of the cava and the left ventricle. Measurement is made on a plane extending posteriorly which parallels the horizontal plane of the vertebral bodies.
Measurement B is the distance of the crossing, referred to above, caudad to the left leaf of the diaphragm
When the posterior border of the left ventricle extends posteriorly to the posterior border of the inferior vena cava more than 1.8cm at a level 2cm cephalad to their crossing, on a lateral projection of the chest in the adult, one can postulate left ventricular enlargement with a considerable degree of certaintyHoffman, Rigler Radiology 1965
2008 – Serna et al evaluated the validity of the H&R sign against the echocardiographic LV end-diastolic diameter in 200 patients and showed a sensitivity of 92.5%, a specificity of 83.3%, a positive predictive value of 78.7%, and a negative predictive value of 94.3%. They conclude that the Hoffman-Rigler sign is a valuable alternative in the evaluation of left ventricular enlargement when cardiac ultrasound is not readily available
2016 – Spaziano et al investigated the sensitivity and specificity of the H&R sign in a modern population. A sample of 145 patients with LV dilatation was matched for age and sex with 145
patients without LV dilatation. The H&R sign and the cardiothoracic index were assessed on the radiograph independently by 2 blinded physicians.
They found that the sign was only measurable in about two thirds of patients and that its diagnostic performance was low for detecting LV dilatation
Did they first describe or popularise or plagiarise?
- Eyler WR, Wayne DL, Rhodenbaugh JE. The importance of the lateral view in the evaluation of left ventricular enlargement in rheumatic heart disease. Radiology. 1959 Jul;73(1): 56-61.
- Keats TE, Rudhe U, Foo GW. Inferior vena caval position in the differential diagnosis of atrial and ventricular septal defects. Radiology. 1964 Oct;83: 616-621.
- Hoffman R, Rigler L. Evaluation of the left ventricular enlargement in the lateral projection of the chest. Radiology 1965: 85: 93–100.
Eponymous term review
- Freeman V, Mutatiri C, Pretorius M, Doubell A. Evaluation of left ventricular enlargement in the lateral position of the chest using the Hoffman and Rigler sign. Cardiovasc J S Afr. 2003 May-Jun;14(3):134-7
- Serna GG, Villarosa AF. Validity of Hoffman and Rigler sign in the evaluation of left ventricular enlargement. Phil Heart Center J 2008;14: 39-41
- Spaziano M, Marquis-Gravel G, Ramsay I, Romanelli G, Marchand É, Tournoux F. Left Ventricular Dilatation Assessed on the Lateral Chest Radiograph: The Classic Hoffman and Rigler Sign Falls Short in a Modern-Day Population. Can J Cardiol. 2016 Mar;32(3):378-83
the names behind the name
BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |