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Diseases of the mediastinum

Widened mediastinum on X-ray

A widened mediastinum is an extremely important finding on chest x-ray (CXR). Two important traumatic mechanisms of injury to consider are aortic rupture and fracture of thoracic vertebrae. Aortic rupture and fracture of thoracic vertebrae are usually caused by high velocity blunt trauma, but aortic rupture could be caused by other causes, for example, Marfan's syndrome or hypertension plus atherosclerosis.