Regional pleural strain measurements during mechanical ventilation using ultrasound elastography: A randomized, crossover, proof of concept physiologic study

Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Sep 15:9:935482. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2022.935482. eCollection 2022.


Background: Mechanical ventilation is a common therapy in operating rooms and intensive care units. When ill-adapted, it can lead to ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI), which is associated with poor outcomes. Excessive regional pulmonary strain is thought to be a major mechanism responsible for VILI. Scarce bedside methods exist to measure regional pulmonary strain. We propose a novel way to measure regional pleural strain using ultrasound elastography. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and reliability of pleural strain measurement by ultrasound elastography and to determine if elastography parameters would correlate with varying tidal volumes.

Methods: A single-blind randomized crossover proof of concept study was conducted July to October 2017 at a tertiary care referral center. Ten patients requiring general anesthesia for elective surgery were recruited. After induction, patients received tidal volumes of 6, 8, 10, and 12 in random order, while pleural ultrasound cineloops were acquired at 4 standardized locations. Ultrasound radiofrequency speckle tracking allowed computing various pleural translation, strain and shear components. We screened 6 elastography parameters (lateral translation, lateral absolute translation, lateral strain, lateral absolute strain, lateral absolute shear and Von Mises Strain) to identify those with the best dose-response with tidal volumes using linear mixed effect models. Goodness-of-fit was assessed by the coefficient of determination. Intraobserver, interobserver and test-retest reliability were calculated using intraclass correlation coefficients.

Results: Analysis was possible in 90.7% of ultrasound cineloops. Lateral absolute shear, lateral absolute strain and Von Mises strain varied significantly with tidal volume and offered the best dose-responses and data modeling fits. Point estimates for intraobserver reliability measures were excellent for all 3 parameters (0.94, 0.94, and 0.93, respectively). Point estimates for interobserver (0.84, 0.83, and 0.77, respectively) and test-retest (0.85, 0.82, and 0.76, respectively) reliability measures were good.

Conclusion: Strain imaging is feasible and reproducible. Future studies will have to investigate the clinical relevance of this novel imaging modality.

Clinical trial registration:, identifier NCT03092557.

Keywords: general anesthesia; lung imaging; mechanical ventilalion; pulmonary strain; ultrasound elastography; ventilator-induced lung injury.

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