The hila are normal anatomic areas in both lungs that are seen in the center of a chest X-ray. They are the site of the origin of the large blood vessels that carry blood to the lungs (pulmonary arteries), the large bronchial tubes that emerge from the root of the lungs, and adjacent lymph nodes. Hilar enlargement can be seen, with an increase in size of any of these structures. “Prominence” means that one or more components of the hilae are enlarged. Sometimes it is possible to conclude which structure is involved, based on location and appearance within the hilum, but often this is not possible; hence the use of the term, “hila shadows”. Sometimes the X-ray appearance is so characteristic that a skilled radiologist can suggest a diagnosis with reasonable certainty.
Usually, however, before venturing an educated guess in this latter circumstance, it is usually necessary to obtain more detailed views of the hila with a CT Scan of the chest.
Your first step should be to ask your physician if, on the basis of the X-ray, he/she can indicate the most likely diagnosis or if not, what the next diagnostic study should be.
To answer your question regarding the possibility of a neoplasm, in a smoker, the answer is yes, this would be one possibility but the likelihood of lung cancer is much reduced by the fact that the prominence is bilateral.
In any event, this finding cannot be ignored unless the radiologist registers a very high suspicion that the shadows represent a normal variant or are highly reflective of a benign diagnosis such as Sarcoidosis. Unless this is the response, further testing must be done.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.