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J Ultrasound. 2013 Nov 9;16(4):195-9. doi: 10.1007/s40477-013-0050-9. eCollection 2013 Nov 9.

Thoracic ultrasound confirmation of correct lung exclusion before one-lung ventilation during thoracic surgery.

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1
Anesthesia Service, Bellinzona Regional Hospital, 6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland.

Abstract

in English, Italian

INTRODUCTION:

Fiberoptic bronchoscopy is the standard method for verifying the correct position of a double-lumen endotracheal tube (DLET) prior to one-lung ventilation. However, it must be performed by a specially trained anesthesiologist and is often resource consuming. The aim of this study was to compare this approach with thoracic ultrasound done by a nurse anesthetist in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and cost-effectiveness.

METHODS:

We conducted a prospective cross-over case-control study involving 51 adult patients consecutively undergoing thoracic surgery with one-lung ventilation. After orotracheal intubation with a DLET, correct exclusion of the lung being operated on exclusion was assessed first by a certified anesthesiologist using standard fiberoptic bronchoscopy and then by a trained nurse anesthetist using thoracic ultrasound. The nurse was blinded as to the findings of the anesthesiologist's examination.

RESULTS:

The two approaches proved to be equally sensitive and specific, but the ultrasound examination was more rapid. This factor, together with the fact that ultrasound was performed by a nurse instead of a physician, and the costs of materials and sterilization, had a significant economic impact amounting to a net saving of €37.20 ± 5.40 per case.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although fiberoptic bronchoscopy is still the gold standard for checking the position of a DLET, thoracic ultrasound is a specific, sensitive, cost-effective alternative, which can be used to rapidly verify the proper function of the tube based on the demonstration of correct lung exclusion.

KEYWORDS:

Anesthesia; Thoracic surgery; Thoracic ultrasound

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