Diagnostic chest ultrasound for acute respiratory failure

Publication date: August 2018
Source:Respiratory Medicine, Volume 141
Author(s): Peter Wallbridge, Daniel Steinfort, Tunn Ren Tay, Louis Irving, Mark Hew
Acute respiratory failure (ARF) is a common life-threatening medical condition, with multiple underlying aetiologies. Diagnostic chest ultrasound provides accurate diagnosis of conditions that commonly cause ARF, and may improve overall diagnostic accuracy in critical care settings as compared to standard diagnostic approaches. Respiratory physicians are becoming increasingly familiar with ultrasound as a part of routine clinical practice, although the majority of data to date has focused on the emergency and intensive care settings.This review will examine the evidence for the use of diagnostic chest ultrasound, focusing on different levels of imaging efficacy; specifically ultrasound test attributes, impacts on clinician behaviour and impact on health outcomes. The evidence behind use of multi-modality ultrasound examinations in ARF will be reviewed.It is hoped that readers will become familiar with the advantages and potential issues with chest ultrasound, as well as evidence gaps in the field.