Transthoracic US of the chest: clinical uses and applications

Radiographics. 2002 Jan-Feb;22(1):e1. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.22.1.g02jae1e1.


Transthoracic ultrasound (US) of the chest is useful in the evaluation of a wide range of peripheral parenchymal, pleural, and chest wall diseases. Furthermore, it is increasingly used to guide interventional procedures of the chest and pleural space. The technique lends itself to bedside use in the intensive care unit, where suboptimal radiography may mask or mimic clinically significant abnormalities. The authors discuss the uses, techniques and applications of US of the chest. The sonographic appearances of pleural diseases (pleural effusion, pneumothorax, pleural mass, and mesothelioma), parenchymal diseases (pneumonia, neoplasms, heart failure, infarct, and rounded atelectasis), chest wall abnormalities (chest wall tumor and rib fracture), and diaphragmatic paralysis are discussed. The use of US in guiding biopsy, thoracocentesis, and other interventional procedures of the lung, pleural space, and mediastinum are also reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Paracentesis
  • Pleural Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Thoracic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*