The Role of Lung Ultrasound on the Daily Assessment of the Critically Ill Patient



The first lung ultrasound (LU) pattern, obtained from a patient with pleural effusion, was described by Pell in 1964. Three years later, Joyner et al. [1] published the first study which described the accuracy and reliability of LU in the diagnosis of pleural fluid. Thereafter, for several years, the use of LU was limited only to the detection of pleural effusion. This has drastically changed in the last decade. Nowadays, LU has emerged as a powerful, non-invasive, easily repeatable bedside diagnostic tool, and is increasingly used in critically ill patients [2–4]. Studies have shown that in these patients, LU has a high diagnostic accuracy in identifying pneumothorax, consolidation/atelectasis, interstitial syndromes (i.e. pulmonary oedema of cardiogenic or non-cardiogenic origin), pleural effusion, and, on the appropriate clinical grounds, it may help in the diagnosis of pneumonia. Indeed, LU may be considered an alternative to thoracic computed tomography (CT) scan when identifying these pathological conditions which are commonly encountered in critically ill patients (Fig. 8.1) [2, 3].


Lung ultrasound B-lines A-Lines Consolidation Pleural effusion Pneumothorax Diaphragm 

Summary of Abbreviations


Adult respiratory distress syndrome


Lung ultrasound


Positive end-expiratory pressure


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care MedicineUniversity Hospital of HeraklionHeraklionGreece

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