What are advantages of ultrasound in the evaluation of pneumothorax?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
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Answer

Ultrasonography has high sensitivity (95.65%), specificity (100%), and diagnostic effectiveness (98.91%) for pneumothorax when CT is used as the criterion standard. In another study, ultrasonography performed on patients with blunt thoracic trauma had 94% sensitivity and 100% specificity for pneumothorax detection compared with spiral CT.

This imaging modality can be used as a possible bedside technique to detect pneumothorax, which may be useful in unstable patients. [52] A prospective study involving 135 patients with multiple trauma using bedside ultrasonography performed by ED clinicians obtained 86% sensitivity and 97% specificity for the detection of pneumothorax. Traumatic pneumothorax in the ICU setting can also be followed accurately and early (initial 24 hours) with ultrasonography alone for resolution of the lesion. Ultrasonography does not use ionizing radiation and is repeatable.


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