Oliver's sign

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Mugilan Poongkunran M.B.B.S [2]

Synonyms and keywords: Tracheal tug sign


Oliver's sign is an abnormal downward movement of the trachea during systole that can indicate a dilation or aneurysm of the aortic arch. Oliver's sign is elicited by gently grasping the cricoid cartilage and applying upward pressure while the patient stands with his or her chin extended upward. Due to the anatomic position of the aortic arch, which overrides the left main bronchus, a downward tug of the trachea may be felt if an aneurysm is present.

Historical Perspective

The sign was first described by English military surgeon William Silver Oliver in 1878.


Life Threatening Causes

Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated.

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm, annuloaortic ectasia, aortitis, arterial tortuosity syndrome, atherosclerosis, Beals syndrome, bicuspid aortic valve, cystic medial necrosis, giant cell arteritis, HANAC syndrome, hypertension, infective endocarditis, kawasaki disease, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, MASS phenotype, polyarteritis nodosa, septic emboli, unicuspid aortic valve
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect No underlying causes
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Acromegaly, diabetes, hyperlipidemia
Environmental obesity, smoking
Gastroenterologic Polycystic kidney disease
Genetic Beals syndrome, cystic medial necrosis, HANAC syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Marfan's syndrome, MASS phenotype, polycystic kidney disease, pseudoxanthoma elasticum, Turner syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome , Shprintzen syndrome, unicuspid aortic valve, Weill-Marchesani syndrome
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Aortitis, chagas disease, infective endocarditis, quaternary syphilis, salmonella, septic emboli, tuberculosis
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic Acromegaly, ankylosing spondylitis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, HANAC syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Marfan's syndrome, pseudoxanthoma elasticum, relapsing polychondritis, Shprintzen syndrome, Weill-Marchesani syndrome
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional/Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic No underlying causes
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal/Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Ankylosing spondylitis, Behçet disease, giant cell arteritis, Kawasaki disease, polyarteritis nodosa, scleroderma
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Chest trauma
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Aging , obesity

Causes in Alphabetical Order


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