Transthoracic US is an inexpensive, lightweight and portable technique to evaluate the lungs and the pleural space.
US-guided punctures are safe procedures in the case of pathological findings in the pleural space.
With the help of EBUS, the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer can be improved.
US will become a practical and essential tool for the pulmonologist in the near future.
To outline the situations where US is indicated.
To discuss the importance of EBUS in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer.
To encourage the pulmonologist to learn ultrasonic techniques, particularly transthoracic US, and emphasise the importance of formal training programmes.
Summary Ultrasound (US) has received increased interest from chest physicians in recent years. Modern US devices are user friendly, inexpensive, lightweight and portable, which makes them suitable for outpatient settings, as well as for bedside investigations of the severely ill.
However, the view during bronchoscopy is limited to the inner surface in the case of parabronchial lesions. Therefore, endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) systems were developed. In trials, it has been shown that, with the help of EBUS, the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer and other pathologies can be improved. EBUS is a safe technique and, so far, has proved extremely useful during diagnostic and interventional procedures. US is set to become a practical and essential tool for the pulmonologist in the near future. This review aims to assess the most important and interesting articles in the field and to encourage the pulmonologist to learn ultrasonic techniques, particularly with regard to transthoracic US.
- ©ERS 2005
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