My patient is short of breath: is there pleural fluid, and will PoCUS help drain it safely?

Smith, Andrew and Loubani, Osama and Bowra, Justin and Talbot, Jo Ann and Jarman, Bob and Atkinson, Paul (2013) My patient is short of breath: is there pleural fluid, and will PoCUS help drain it safely? Ultrasound (21). pp. 88-92. ISSN 1743-1344

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Pathological pleural fluid is common in patients presenting to the emergency department, occurring in as many as 17% of patients presenting with shortness of breath, and as many as 20% of patients with blunt thoracic trauma. A typical chest X-ray may fail to identify as much as 175 mL of pleural fluid in the erect position, and as much as 500 mL in the supine position. Point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) on the other hand can detect as little as 20 mL of pleural fluid, and has consistently been shown to have sensitivities and specificities for the detection of pleural fluid close to 100% in both the trauma and critically ill populations. In addition, ultrasound identifies pleural fluid more rapidly than chest X-ray. PoCUS can be used to guide thoracentesis, resulting in improved success rates with decreased complications. Here we describe the evidence supporting the use of PoCUS in the management of pleural fluid collections.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 6261
Keywords: Point of Care Ultrasound, PoCUS, Pleural Fluid, Needle guidance, Thoracentesis, Emergency Medicine
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Clinical Disciplines > Emergency Medicine
Date: May 2013
Date Type: Publication
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