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Arch Hellen Med, 27(4), July-August 2010, 614-621


Τhe contemporary role of transthoracic ultrasonography
in the evaluation of chest diseases in the intensive care unit

1Department of Radiology, "Evaggelismos" General Hospital of Athens, Athens,
2First Department of Critical Care,"Evaggelismos" General Hospital of Athens, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Until recently, ultrasonography (US) was considered a method of poor access for visualizing pulmonary and pleural diseases, due to the inability of sound to penetrate the air-filled lung. Despite its limitations, transthoracic US has become an important diagnostic tool in an increasing number of pathological situations such as pneumonia, atelectasis, interstitial-alveolar syndrome, pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax and pleural effusion. US assessment of these situations is based on the imaging of artifacts, signs and lines of normal lung and pleura and special signs and lines related to disease. The fact that transthoracic US is a method which is easily repeatable at the bedside and is radiation- free makes it an attractive imaging tool for use on a daily basis, especially in the management of critically ill patients. The aim of this review is to elucidate the current role of transthoracic US in the study of pulmonary and pleural diseases in critically ill patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

Key words: Critically ill patient, ICU, Transthoracic US, Ultrasonography.

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