Ultrasonic signs of pneumothorax: preliminary work

J Clin Ultrasound. 1993 May;21(4):245-50. doi: 10.1002/jcu.1870210406.


Ultrasonography is considered to have limited application in respiratory diseases because air reflects sound waves. Twenty-four patients with radiologically confirmed pneumothorax and 100 healthy subjects underwent sonography. In all normal subjects, the hyperechoic pulmonary interface showed respiratory motions termed the "gliding sign" with some comet-tail artifacts. Sonographic signs were shown in all pneumothoraces: disappearance of the gliding sign and no comet tails. The extent of collapse cannot be evaluated, but it is possible to determine its area in partial pneumothorax (N = 5). The follow-up (N = 8) showed the reappearance of the gliding sign. Ultrasonography may be helpful in diagnosing pneumothorax in certain cases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Artifacts
  • Bronchitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / physiology
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleura / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumothorax / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pneumothorax / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Ultrasonography