Year : 2015  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 79-91

Role of ultrasound in the management of pleural diseases in respiratory intensive care patients

1 Department of Chest Diseases, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
2 Department of Radiodiagnosis, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
3 Department of Radiodiagnosis, Abbassia Chest Hospital, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Nehad M Osman
PhD, 7, Kadry ST, Hamamat El Kobba, 2111 Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1687-8426.153658

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Introduction Ultrasonography (US) has become an invaluable tool in the management of critically ill patients. Objectives This study aimed to evaluate the role of US in the diagnosis and treatment of pleural diseases in patients in the respiratory intensive care unit. Patients and methods This study recruited 55 patients who presented with suspected clinical and/or radiological evidence of pleural disease in whom US and chest radiography were performed. In addition, US-guided interventions were carried out whenever needed and computed tomography scans of the chest where obtained whenever possible. Results Pleural effusion was the most common pleural disease encountered (54.5%). US correctly predicted the nature of most pleural effusions, whether transudative or exudative (84%). US was significantly more sensitive than chest radiography in the diagnosis of pleural effusion and pleural thickening (P = 0.00 and 0.004, respectively) and had significantly better sensitivity for unilateral effusions and for septations compared with computed tomography (P = 0.004). There was almost perfect agreement between US results and the final diagnosis in all pleural diseases, with κ values ranging from 0.9 to 0.98. A total of 67 US-guided interventions were carried out, with a success rate of 94%, and only one (1.5%) complication was encountered in the form of partial pneumothorax. US affected the diagnosis and altered the treatment policy, with recorded favorable outcomes. Short-term training programs enable pulmonologists to acquire US examination skills after 30 examinations. Conclusion US is an efficient and suitable method for evaluating pleural disease in the respiratory intensive care unit, especially pleural effusion. US-guided pleural interventions have been successful and have shown favorable outcomes and minimal complications. Short-term training could enable mastering of US use.

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