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Role of transthoracic ultrasound in evaluating patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease



Conventional ultrasound with frequencies ranging from 2 to 10 MHz is increasingly used for the diagnosis of pulmonary diseases including pneumothorax, pleural effusion, alveolar–interstitial syndrome, and lung consolidation. Transthoracic ultrasound (TTUS) can be useful in evaluating diaphragmatic function, air trapping, and A lines for the assessment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and differentiation from other mimicking conditions.


This study was carried out to assess the role of TTUS in evaluating patients with COPD.

Patients and methods

This was a prospective study carried out on 60 male participants: 40 of them were COPD patients (cases) and 20 were healthy individuals (controls). All cases were examined by TTUS B-mode, low-frequency and highfrequency transducer to detect the regularity of the pleura lines and the prominence of A lines, and all of them were examined by M-mode to assess diaphragmatic excursion.


There was a statistically significant difference with regard to irregularity of pleura lines and prominence of A lines between COPD and control groups with a P value less than 0.001. Regarding diaphragmatic excursion, there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups (P <0.001). A cut-off value of 2.95cm for diaphragmatic excursion was assigned with 83.7% sensitivity and 70.6% specificity to differentiate mild and moderate COPD from severe and very severe cases.


TTUS is a helpful tool for evaluating COPD patients and for assessing disease severity.


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Correspondence to Ahmed M. Abd El Hafeez.

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Youssuf, H.A.A., Abdelnabi, E.A., Abd El Hafeez, A.M. et al. Role of transthoracic ultrasound in evaluating patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Egypt J Bronchol 10, 274–282 (2016).

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  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • diaphragmatic excursion
  • transthoracic ultrasound