Thoracic Ultrasound: What Non-radiologists Need to Know

Curr Pulmonol Rep. 2017;6(1):39-47. doi: 10.1007/s13665-017-0164-1. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


Purpose of review: The aim of this review is to provide the theoretical and practical knowledge essential for non-radiologists to develop the skills necessary to apply thoracic ultrasound as an extension of clinical assessment and intervention.

Recent findings: Issues relating to training and competence are discussed and a library of thoracic ultrasound videos is provided to illustrate artefacts, pleural, parenchymal and pneumothorax pathology as well as important pitfalls to consider. Novel and future diagnostic applications of thoracic ultrasound in the setting of acute cardiorespiratory pathology including consolidation, acute interstitial syndromes and pulmonary embolism are explored.

Summary: Thoracic ultrasound requires an understanding of imaging artefact specific to lung and pleura and a working knowledge of machine knobology for image optimisation and interpretation. Ultrasound is a valuable tool for the practicing chest clinician providing diagnostic information for the assessment of pleural and parenchymal disease and increased safety and cost effectiveness of thoracic interventions.

Keywords: Lung artefact; Pleural disease; Pleural effusion; Pleural sliding; Seashore sign; Thoracic ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review