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J Clin Ultrasound. 1993 May;21(4):245-50.

Ultrasonic signs of pneumothorax: preliminary work.

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Department of Internal and Pulmonary Medicine, Montpellier Nimes University Hospital, France.


Ultrasonography is considered to have limited application in respiratory diseases because air reflects sound waves. Twenty-four patients with radiologically confirmed pneumothorax and 100 healthy subjects underwent sonography. In all normal subjects, the hyperechoic pulmonary interface showed respiratory motions termed the "gliding sign" with some comet-tail artifacts. Sonographic signs were shown in all pneumothoraces: disappearance of the gliding sign and no comet tails. The extent of collapse cannot be evaluated, but it is possible to determine its area in partial pneumothorax (N = 5). The follow-up (N = 8) showed the reappearance of the gliding sign. Ultrasonography may be helpful in diagnosing pneumothorax in certain cases.

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