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Lung ultrasound in acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute lung injury

Arbelot, Charlottea; Ferrari, Fabioa,b; Bouhemad, Belaïda; Rouby, Jean-Jacquesa

Current Opinion in Critical Care: February 2008 - Volume 14 - Issue 1 - p 70–74
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0b013e3282f43d05
Respiratory system: Edited by Paolo Pelosi

Purpose of review Lung ultrasound at the bedside can provide accurate information on lung status in critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Recent findings Lung ultrasound can replace bedside chest radiography and lung computed tomography for assessment of pleural effusion, pneumothorax, alveolar–interstitial syndrome, lung consolidation, pulmonary abscess and lung recruitment/de-recruitment. It can also accurately determine the type of lung morphology at the bedside (focal or diffuse aeration loss), and therefore it is useful for optimizing positive end-expiratory pressure. The learning curve is brief, so most intensive care physicians will be able to use it after a few weeks of training.

Summary Lung ultrasound is noninvasive, easily repeatable and allows assessment of changes in lung aeration induced by the various therapies. It is among the most promising bedside techniques for monitoring patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

aSurgical Intensive Care Unit, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, University of Paris-6 Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

bDepartment of Anesthesiology, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho, Botucatu, Brazil

Correspondence to Pr Jean-Jacques Rouby, Réanimation Chirurgicale Pierre Viars, Département d'Anesthésie-Réanimation, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, 47–83 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75651 Paris Cedex 13, France Tel: +33 1 42 16 22 51; fax: +33 1 42 16 22 69; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.