Purpose of review: Lung ultrasound at the bedside can provide accurate information on lung status in critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Recent findings: Lung ultrasound can replace bedside chest radiography and lung computed tomography for assessment of pleural effusion, pneumothorax, alveolar-interstitial syndrome, lung consolidation, pulmonary abscess and lung recruitment/de-recruitment. It can also accurately determine the type of lung morphology at the bedside (focal or diffuse aeration loss), and therefore it is useful for optimizing positive end-expiratory pressure. The learning curve is brief, so most intensive care physicians will be able to use it after a few weeks of training.
Summary: Lung ultrasound is noninvasive, easily repeatable and allows assessment of changes in lung aeration induced by the various therapies. It is among the most promising bedside techniques for monitoring patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.