Value of high-resolution ultrasound in detecting a pneumothorax

Eur Radiol. 2005 May;15(5):930-5. doi: 10.1007/s00330-004-2518-7. Epub 2004 Dec 18.


This study was designed to compare the detectability of high-resolution ultrasound (HRUS) and bedside chest radiography (CR) for a pneumothorax. During the last 14 months, 97 consecutive patients who were admitted to our institute to undergo a transthoracic needle aspiration and biopsy (TNAB) of the lung were included. Both HRUS and CR were performed immediately after the TNAB procedure. The HRUS images were saved in sequence using the cine-review mode and displayed as an animation on a workstation. Four radiologists independently analyzed both HRUS images and a soft copy of the CR on a diagnostic monitor and identified the pneumothorax. With CT as the reference standard, statistical parameters were calculated. From 97 patients, 35 pneumothorax cases were found on CT after the TNAB. The sensitivities in detecting the pneumothorax were 80 and 47% in HRUS and CR, respectively. The specificities were 94 and 94%. The diagnostic accuracies were 89 and 77%. The inter-observer agreement was excellent (kappa=0.85) in the HRUS images and moderate (kappa=0.49) in the CR. The results of this study suggest that HRUS is a more sensitive and confident method for diagnosing a pneumothorax when compared to bedside chest radiography.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumothorax / diagnostic imaging*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Ultrasonography