The thoracic spine sign in bedside ultrasound: Three cases

Abdul Aziz R. Ahmed, Jennifer A. Martin, Turandot Saul, Resa E. Lewiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The "thoracic spine sign" is visualized when anechoic or hypoechoic fluid is present in the pleural space. Fluid serves as a medium through which the thoracic vertebral bodies are visualized above the diaphragm. We present three cases of emergency department patients with a thoracic spine sign identified on bedside ultrasound. These patients were subsequently diagnosed with pleural fluid accumulations on chest radiograph. Our findings suggest that the identification of the sonographic spine sign may aid the physician in the evaluation and diagnosis of emergency department patients with thoracic complaints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-181
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Ultrasonography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bedside ultrasound
  • Pleural effusion
  • Thoracic spine sign
  • Thoracic ultrasound


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