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Lung Ultrasound for the Regional Anesthesiologist and Acute Pain Specialist

Haskins, Stephen C. MD*; Tsui, Ban C. MSc, MD; Nejim, Jemiel A. MD*; Wu, Christopher L. MD; Boublik, Jan MD, PhD

Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine: May/June 2017 - Volume 42 - Issue 3 - p 289–298
doi: 10.1097/AAP.0000000000000583
Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain: Review Article

In this article, we discuss the emerging role of lung point-of-care ultrasonography for regional anesthesiologists and pain management specialists. Lung ultrasonography is a well-established clinical tool that is used on a routine basis in emergency rooms and critical care units internationally to evaluate patients with respiratory distress; however, its benefits to the regional anesthesiologist and pain specialist are not as well known and are practiced less frequently. This review article covers the clinical evidence in support of lung point-of-care ultrasonography as a rapid and superior tool to traditional imaging modalities such as chest radiography and fluoroscopy. As anesthesiologists routinely perform nerve blocks that put patients at potential risk of complications such as pneumothorax or diaphragmatic paresis, it is important to understand how to use lung ultrasonography to evaluate for these conditions, as well as to differentiate between other potential causes of respiratory distress, such as interstitial syndrome and pleural effusions. This article describes the normal and pathological findings that can be used to quickly and confidently evaluate a patient for these conditions.

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From the *Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; †Department of Anesthesiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA; and ‡Department of Anesthesiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

Accepted for publication January 2, 2017.

Address correspondence to: Stephen C. Haskins, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021 (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright © 2017 by American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.