Thoracic ultrasonography: a narrative review

P. H. Mayo, R. Copetti, D. Feller-Kopman, G. Mathis, E. Maury, S. Mongodi, F. Mojoli, G. Volpicelli, M. Zanobetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


This narrative review focuses on thoracic ultrasonography (lung and pleural) with the aim of outlining its utility for the critical care clinician. The article summarizes the applications of thoracic ultrasonography for the evaluation and management of pneumothorax, pleural effusion, acute dyspnea, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, interstitial processes, and the patient on mechanical ventilatory support. Mastery of lung and pleural ultrasonography allows the intensivist to rapidly diagnose and guide the management of a wide variety of disease processes that are common features of critical illness. Its ease of use, rapidity, repeatability, and reliability make thoracic ultrasonography the “go to” modality for imaging the lung and pleura in an efficient, cost effective, and safe manner, such that it can largely replace chest imaging in critical care practice. It is best used in conjunction with other components of critical care ultrasonography to yield a comprehensive evaluation of the critically ill patient at point of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1211
Number of pages12
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Critical care ultrasonography
  • Lung ultrasonography
  • Pleural ultrasonography
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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