Evaluation of The Diagnostic Potential of Sonography in Pleural Effusion in Supine and Erect Positions

Author(s): Sara Salarian.M.D., Masoomeh Raoufi M.D., Navid Shafigh M.D., Nazanin Sadraei M.D., Mahnaz Ghanbari DDS

Rationale and Objectives: Chest tube insertion in patients with pleural effusion necessitates a pre-procedural evaluation of the fluid amount. Ultrasound is currently the most efficient modality for this evaluation. In this study, we aimed to seek a simple diagnostic method to evaluate the volume of pleural effusion.

Materials (patients) and Methods: This study includes 38 ICU patients who were diagnosed with pleural effusion in their chest x-ray. We measured the maximum distance from the diaphragm to the pleura in the erect position and the maximum distance from the visceral pleura to the chest wall in the supine position to estimate the amount of pleural effusion. Then we used a simple regression model to compare the estimated values with the actual amount of fluid.

Result: There is a linear relationship between the estimated values of pleural effusion in the erect and supine positions and the actual amount of fluid.

Conclusion: Maximum distance between the diaphragm and pleura in the erect position and the maximum distance between visceral pleura and chest wall could be utilized to estimate the pleural effusion volume with high accuracy in ICU patients. This could be a cost-effective simple method for the management of pleural effusion in ICU patients.

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