UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: Suprasternal Notch View...a window to the Aortic Arch?

Keywords: Echo, Aortic Dissection (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/9/2014 by Ali Farzad, MD (Updated: 3/23/2014)
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Early diagnosis and surgical consultation for dissection of the ascending aorta can be life saving. Emergency physicians are increasingly using focused cardiac ultrasound to assess chest pain patients in the ED. 

The suprasternal notch view (SSNV), may provide additional information in the assessment of thoracic aortic pathology. A recently performed pilot study aimed to determine the accuracy of using the SSNV, in addition to the more traditional parasternal long axis view in assessing aortic dimensions as well as pathology compared to CTA of the chest. 

Using a maximal normal thoracic aortic diameter of 40 mm, diagnostic accuracy in detecting dilation of the aorta was 100%. The study showed that the SSNV is feasible and demonstrates high agreement with measurements made on CTA of the chest. 

The SSNV can be a useful bedside window to help diagnose thoracic aortic pathology such as aortic dissection and coarctation of the aorta. 



Kinnaman KA, Rempell JS, Kimberly HH, et al. Accuracy of Suprasternal Notch View Using Focused Cardiac Ultrasound to Evaluate Aortic Arch Measurements. YMEM. 2013;62(S):S81. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.07.042. Image:

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