X-ray of the thorax represents so far the standard diagnostic procedure to evaluate for a PTX, but is associated with radiation exposure and logistic delays. Portable ultrasound is now widely and easily available and may present an attractive alternative to conventional CXR in the evaluation for that disorder. The typical ultrasonic finding is typically the lack of respiration-dependent sliding of the pleura. Prospective investigations of the value of ultrasound in the diagnosis of PTX are missing.
Patients undergoing transbronchial biopsy were included in the study, as all patients undergo post procedure imaging to rule out PTX. All patients were evaluated by ultrasound and conventional CXR in 2 views. The results were compared.
In the observation period (01/03-01/04) 1023 patients (321 female, 702 men and mean age 47.2 years) were examined. In 36 cases a PTX was assumed by ultrasound, in 30 cases (2.9 %) a pneumothorax was radiologically proven. This corresponds to a sensitivity of 100 % and a specificity of 83 %. There were no wrong negatives.
Transthoracic ultrasound represents a highly sensitive procedure for the diagnostic of pneumothorax. It is easily performed, does not expose patient and staff to radiation and is increasingly available. It is not possible to quantify the free amount of air.
Transthoracic ultrasound allows the diagnosis of PTX.
F.J. Herth, None.